In grocery firms' search for ways to charge more for their products (besides incremental downsizing, "convenience" packaging and selling smaller sizes at higher price per ounce), they often make several versions of the product, each with a different flavor or inclusion, at a higher price than the plain product. Thus, regular Betty Crocker Potato Buds instant mashed potatoes, in a 13.75-ounce box, cost $2.59 (18.8 cents per ounce) at one store, but each flavored version -- roasted garlic, butter & herb, sour cream & chive, and creamy butter -- in almost-half-size 6.6-ounce boxes, sells at that store for $1.99 (30.1 cents per ounce). That's 60 percent more per ounce.

But the newest version, Loaded Mashed ("seasoned with naturally flavored bacon, cheese, chives & sour cream") is in an incrementally smaller package, too: At that store the 6.1-ounce box costs the same $1.99 as the other flavors' 6.6 ounce boxes, so it's an extra 8 percent more per ounce.



The prize for oddest inclusion in a food product must go to DiGiorno, the Nestle frozen-pizza label (which used to belong to Kraft). Many existing DiGiorno pizza varieties have an unusual element: cheese-stuffed crust, garlic-bread crust, etc. Mr. Tidbit had noticed the relatively new still-more-unusual DiGiorno Pizza & Breadsticks (pizza with cheesy breadsticks and marinara dipping sauce) but hadn't gotten around to discussing it, when he came upon ... DiGiorno Pizza & Cookies! That's right, a full-size pizza plus an 81/4-ounce package of Nestle chocolate chip cookie dough (bakes 12 cookies).

Mr. Tidbit reluctantly forgoes discussing what this development means for our nation, in order to focus on the package's two preparation methods: "To enjoy cookies after pizza" (baking the cookies after the pizza is out of the oven), and "to enjoy cookies with pizza" [italics generously supplied by Mr. Tidbit] (baking them so pizza and cookies are ready at the same time). Nestle apparently envisions this dining scenario: a couple bites of pizza, a cookie, another bite of pizza, etc.

Make your own joke here.