Going premium

Mr. Tidbit loves jargon, so he was delighted to learn that Pizzeria, the new line of Nestle’s DiGiorno frozen pizza, represents what an article in Food Business News calls “premiumization,” which it says means “upscale ingredients,” no artificial flavors and preservative-free crust. The article quoted Nestle’s CEO saying that “people don’t buy prices, they buy value.” Indeed, the box of the Supreme Speciale variety of Pizzeria pizza that Mr. Tidbit bought is so premiumized that, in addition to proclaiming no artificial flavors, preservative-free crust and “premium pepperoni” and caramelized onions, it costs more.

At one store, where the regular DiGiorno pizzas were $7.19, the Pizzeria pizzas were $7.49. “Big deal,” you might say. “I don’t mind paying 30 cents for caramelized onions and whatever else you said: It sounds really premium.”

The 30 cents is nothing. Pizzeria pizzas are lots smaller — around 19 ounces (four suggested servings), compared with around 30 ounces (six suggested servings) for original DiGiorno pizza. At that rate, original DiGiorno pizza costs something like 24 cents an ounce; Pizzeria pizza costs around 39 cents an ounce. That’s what Mr. Tidbit calls premiumization!

 

Inside Brightside

New from Pepperidge Farm, Brightside soft-baked heart-shaped granola bars, in boxes of five. The idea immediately reminded Mr. Tidbit of the soft-baked version of BelVita “breakfast biscuits,” which also come five to the box.

Indeed, the products are fairly similar, starting with a lot of rolled oats, and the nutrition statements are very much alike as well. The Brightside item is slightly smaller (five of them weigh 7.9 ounces, whereas the five BelVita biscuits weigh 8.8 ounces), and the Brightside bar is a little thicker, a little lumpier and less crumbly than the BelVita biscuit. It also costs a little more ($3.99 — 51 cents an ounce — vs. $3.69 — 42 cents an ounce).

The most obvious difference, though, is Brightside’s overpackaging. In both cases the bars are in individual loose foil bags, but inside each Brightside bag the sturdy heart is in an oversize plastic tray. Both boxes have room for at least one more bag, but the inclusion of the five space-eating trays fluffs the Brightside box out to 134 cubic inches, compared with BelVita’s 72-cubic-inch box, giving a very mistaken impression of the amount of stuff inside.

Al Sicherman