Mr. Tidbit's grocery-hunting habits have been honed over the years largely to turn up interesting — if not downright peculiar — food items of the processed variety. But he is well aware that the American grocery shopper is said, these days, to be less interested in processed grocery products and more in "natural" and organic foods, and in ingredients that until recently were found only in health-food stores.
As he attempts to widen the focus of the Tidbits column's fearless spotlight, it should not be surprising that his early discoveries feature those health-food-store ingredients — in packaging associated with processed foods.
The ingredient that caught his newly opened eye this week is one that he previously associated only with cheesy pre-Christmas advertising: ch-ch-ch-chia.
First, there's Mamma Chia ("Seed your soul") brand "organic vitality snack" Chia Squeeze, which Mr. Tidbit believes to be a recent addition to the Mamma Chia panoply of chia drinks, bars, granola clusters and such. There are six flavors — in shelf-stable squeeze pouches (think "chia meets Go-Gurt,"), two of which are:
Blackberry Bliss, the ingredients of which are hydrated organic chia seeds, organic apple purée, organic grape juice concentrate, organic blackberry purée, organic blackberry juice concentrate, organic purple carrot juice concentrate, citric acid, organic natural blackberry flavor, and organic natural blueberry flavor.
And Green Magic, which consists of hydrated organic chia seeds, organic banana purée, organic mango purée, organic apple juice concentrate, organic lemon juice, organic spirulina, organic chlorella, organic natural mango flavor, citric acid, organic kale and organic natural pineapple flavor.
At one discount supermarket, the box of four 3.5-ounce pouches was $4.99.
Full of fruit
From the perhaps more familiar Smucker's, there are three kinds of new Fruit-Fulls, shelf-stable pouches of blended fruit in three categories: four kinds of "pure blended fruit" (apple, apple cinnamon, apple mixed berry and apple strawberry), two kinds of blended fruit with oats (apple cobbler and Tropical Fusion), and finally (did you think that Mr. Tidbit had forgotten the topic?) two kinds of blended fruit with chia (strawberry vanilla and Pom-Berry). The ingredients of that last one are apples, strawberries, seedless red raspberries, pomegranate juice concentrate and chia seeds.
At a different supermarket (Mr. Tidbit couldn't find both products in one store), the box of four 4-ounce (14 percent larger) pouches was $4.39.