Tidbits: Ore-Ida and Raisin Bran

  • Article by: AL SICHERMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 15, 2014 - 1:29 PM

Simply fries

The “simple” foods saga continues. Today’s four entries are the new Ore-Ida products Simply Olive Oil and Sea Salt Country Style French Fries, Simply Cracked Black Pepper and Sea Salt Country Style French Fries, Simply Olive Oil and Sea Salt Homestyle Wedges, and Simply Roasted Garlic and Herbs Homestyle Wedges. (Mr. Tidbit didn’t promise that the names would be simple.)

So what does “simply” mean in the context of a country-style French fry?

(For that matter, what is a country-style French fry? Happily — for Mr. Tidbit, anyway — Ore-Ida was already making just-plain, unsimple Country Style French Fries, which on the Ore-Ida website are described — simply — as “French fries with the skin on.” Mr. Tidbit will leave what Homestyle means for another day.)

Back to what “simply” means here: The ingredient labels tell us that the regular fries have spices, natural flavor, potato starch and vegetable color that the Simply fries don’t, and plain salt where the Simplys have sea salt. The Simplys contain citric acid “(to promote color retention),” and the regular ones have disodium dihydrogen pyrophosphate, which is a much longer name and, Mr. Tidbit is informed, is used to promote color retention.

If all that isn’t a very clear difference, perhaps this is: At one supermarket, both Simply and regular country-style French fries were $3.69. But there are 30 ounces in the bag of regular fries, and only 24 ounces in the bag of Simplys. So the Simply fries cost 25 percent more per ounce.

Cereal ALA mode

Along the same lines, there were already three kinds of Kellogg’s Raisin Bran: regular Raisin Bran, Cinnamon Almond Raisin Bran and Raisin Bran Crunch. Now there’s a fourth: Omega-3 250mg ALA From Flaxseed Raisin Bran. (Another catchy name.)

ALA (alpha-linolenic acid — not to be confused with linoleic acid, right?) is one of the three “omega” essential fatty acids (nutrients the body doesn’t produce on its own). The richest sources of ALA are some seed oils, including flaxseed.

That said, at one supermarket the 23.5-ounce box of Kellogg’s regular Raisin Bran was $3.85 and the 14.3-ounce box of the one that contains flaxseed was $3.75 — 60 percent more per ounce.

Al Sicherman

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