Also: A fresh take on breadcrumbs
When Mr. Tidbit came across Marie Callender's new small (10-ounce) frozen fruit pies, he thought immediately of the small (7-ounce) frozen fruit pies from Banquet, which appeared about a year ago.
The Callender pies are 43 percent bigger than the Banquet entries, but Mr. Tidbit was surprised to find, comparing the nutrition labels, that the Callender pies had only a little more fat and sugar than those from Banquet, and the same number of calories.
Oh, wait. Those numbers are for a whole Banquet pie, but the enumerated serving of the Callender pie was only half of a pie. (Sure. That's what anyone would eat. Not surprisingly, the Marie Callender website calls the new pies "single-serve.")
Comparing the same (7-ounce) amount of each pie, that much of the Callender pie had 40 percent more calories, 38 percent more sugar and 60 percent more fat than the Banquet pie. If, like any red-blooded American, you ate the whole Callender pie, you got 100 percent more calories, 119 percent more sugar and 127 percent more fat than from the whole Banquet pie.
So the Callender pie is 43 percent bigger and lots gooier. Where Mr. Tidbit found them, the budget-label Banquet pies cost 99 cents and the Marie Callender pies were $2.69 -- 90 percent more per ounce.
Kraft's new Fresh Take refrigerated cheese and seasoned breadcrumb mixes are in the category of slightly convenient foods that cost much more than their regular version. Sort of. Each is a large plastic bag containing shredded cheese and crumbs, which you combine, shake with six pieces of chicken, pork or fish, and bake, saving you the agony of measuring cheese and crumbs.
By Mr. Tidbit's calculation, at $3.49, Fresh Take costs about 42 percent more than the mix's roughly 3 3/4 ounces of cheese and 2 1/4 ounces of crumbs. But if you buy an 8-ounce bag of cheese and a 15-ounce container of crumbs (total $7.96) and never use the rest of them, Fresh Take is lots cheaper than that.