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Tidbits: Lean Cuisine, Heinz ketchup

  • Article by: AL SICHERMAN
  • Star Tribune
  • August 21, 2013 - 11:49 AM

’Tisn’t a gift

The Honestly Good frozen dinners from Lean Cuisine that Mr. Tidbit mentioned last week are part of a much larger wave of grocery products and product lines with names that suggest simplicity. Mr. Tidbit thought he had discussed this matter before, but he can find no evidence to support that belief. So here’s a quick glance:

There is apparently no better way to convey an absence of high-fructose corn syrup than to call your product “simple” or “simply.” (“Honest” or “honestly” is a way-distant second.) In most cases “simple” or “simply” also means no artificial colors or flavors, no preservatives and probably no ingredients recognizable only to a chemist.

Mr. Tidbit undertook to prepare a list of such products (generated, he must admit, not by tirelessly roaming supermarket aisles, but simply by searching for “simple” and “simply” at a supermarket website).

Along with the name of the product is its claim to simplicity, either expressly made on packaging or website, or inferred from the ingredients statement:

Duncan Hines Simple Mornings muffin mixes: “Nothing artificial, no trans-fat”; contains sugar, not high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS).

Simply Heinz ketchup: sugar, not HFCS.

Smucker’s Simply Fruit fruit spreads: These are hard to distinguish from Smucker’s Natural fruit spreads, but in any case, no HFCS.

Lots of Simply juices and juice drinks, such as Simply Orange Juice, Simply Lemonade, etc.: “All natural,” not from concentrate, no preservatives, no HFCS. (Mr. Tidbit notes that they come from the Simply Orange Juice Co., which is simply Minute Maid, which is simply Coca-Cola.)

Yoplait Simply Go-Gurt: “No high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners, artificial colors or flavors.”

A host of Simply … (the name kind of trails off there), refrigerated dough products from Pillsbury. Buttermilk biscuits, Rustic French bread and two kinds of cookies, all with no HFCS, no artificial colors or flavors.

Keebler’s Simply Made cookies: “The same simple ingredients that you’d find in your pantry.” No HFCS. (Not to be confused with Keebler’s long-standing Simply Sandies cookies, which are, simply, Pecan Sandies without the pecans.)

There are many, many more. When Mr. Tidbit foolishly started to compile the list, he simply had no idea.

Al Sicherman

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