Now featuring vegetables

  • Article by: AL SICHERMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 23, 2011 - 12:31 PM
Mr. Tidbit fearlessly predicts that among the grocery-product fads this year will be enumerated servings of vegetables. Last year we saw the advance scouts -- several versions of full-vegetable servings hidden in servings of fruit juice. And now we have a couple of starchy dishes with highlighted vegetable content:

Ronzoni pasta, which already had several lines including Healthy Harvest (whole grain) and Smart Taste (high fiber, extra calcium) now offers Garden Delight "enriched tomato, carrot and spinach pasta blend, with a full serving of vegetables* per 4-ounce portion." The asterisk advises: "vegetable solids from dried vegetables," which Mr. Tidbit supposes is fair enough. What isn't so obvious is that a 4-ounce portion is twice the standard serving size of pasta. "Half a serving of vegetables per serving just doesn't sound as good."

Knorr, which makes a large line of rice-based and pasta-based side dishes in pouches, has introduced Sides Plus Veggies, which the front of the pouch advises are made with "2 full servings of veggies" and, in smaller type, "per pouch." As each pouch makes two servings, that means there's a full serving of vegetables in each serving of Sides Plus Veggies, which might have been a less flamboyant way of putting it.

You know what comes next, don't you? At one supermarket, Ronzoni Smart Taste pasta was $1.95 for a 14.5-ounce box (13.4 cents an ounce), Healthy Harvest was $1.89 for a 13.25-ounce box (14.3 cents an ounce), and Garden Delight was $1.95 for a 12-ounce box (16.2 cents an ounce), a surprisingly slight premium for the vegetable version. (Mr. Tidbit must note that at that store Creamette pasta was priced at $1.49 for a 16-ounce box -- 9.3 cents an ounce).

At the same store, where all of the other Knorr Sides rice and pasta pouches were $1.59, Sides Plus Veggies was $2.25. That's more what Mr. Tidbit expected.

AL SICHERMAN

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