Tidbits: Yet more soup

  • Article by: AL SICHERMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 26, 2012 - 3:27 PM

Also: Homestyle macaroni and cheese.

Yet more soup

Having gone on at great length last week about Campbell's multiple new or renamed soup offerings, Mr. Tidbit found himself out of room to mention new soups from two previously non-soupy labels:

Marie Callender's, a brand that Mr. Tidbit until today had known only as a line of frozen foods from ConAgra -- but that he learned from his extensive research (typing "Marie Callender's" into Google) is a 50-year-old chain of pie-shop restaurants in the western United States ... where was Mr. Tidbit? Oh, yes. There are now at least two kinds of Marie Callender's ready-to-eat soup, in two-serving cans: Chicken & Dumplings and Chicken Pot Pie Style. The latter is described as "tender chunks of chicken and your favorite pot pie vegetables ... in a rich creamy broth brimming with herbs and spices." So there's no actual pie.

At one store, where the 18- to 19-ounce cans of Campbell's and Progresso soups sell for around $2.50, the 15-ounce Marie Callender's soups are $2.94.

And Ortega, maker of many Mexican-style food products, has introduced two dry (add water, heat on the stovetop) all-natural soup mixes: black bean soup with cilantro and tortilla soup with chipotle and cilantro. The mixes, which (with three cups of water) make four cups of soup, cost $2.99 at the same store.

Easy, pricey

A new Kraft offering is three flavors of its Homestyle Macaroni & Cheese Dinner mixes in single-serve (11/4-cup) microwave tubs. The regular Homestyle offerings, which make four 1-cup servings, involve boiling the dry macaroni and preparing a cooked sauce with butter, milk and the included cheese and seasoning packets. The new single-serve mixes just have you add water and the seasoning packet to the tub, microwave and stir in the prepared cheese sauce.

At one store, where the stovetop mix costs $2.14 and the milk and butter together cost no more than 35 cents, for a total of 62 cents per cup, the 11/4 -cup microwave mix also costs $2.14 -- $1.71 a cup, almost three times as much.

AL SICHERMAN

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