Oat cuisine? Almost

The latest thing from Kellogg is Special K granola bars. Although Mr. Tidbit finds himself thinking we already had Special K granola bars, at least in recent years it seems that the Special K brand has appeared only on so-called cereal bars and protein bars, both of which are based on a rice/wheat mixture. Whatever else you might imagine is in granola, it is heavily based on rolled oats.

Mr. Tidbit was going to say that granola is first and foremost rolled oats, but it turns out that the new Special K granola bars are first and foremost soluble corn fiber. But the next ingredient is rolled oats.

Where Mr. Tidbit found them, the new bars, five to the 4.76-ounce box, had the same price as the other Special K bars, six to the box of approximately the same size.


Cold calcium

Until this week, Mr. Tidbit thought he had a handle on cereal bars and granola bars: They are cereal-based snacks found in the supermarket breakfast-cereal aisle, often carrying the name of such a cereal -- Honey Nut Cheerios, Special K, Fiber One, etc.

Now Kraft has knocked out two of the supporting pillars of that definition by introducing Milk Bite milk & granola bars, sold in the refrigerated section.

Large badges on the box read "made with real milk, store in FRIDGE," and the front label adds "Made with milk and calcium to deliver the calcium of an 8-ounce glass of milk" (which turns out to be 30 percent of the daily value for calcium). General Mills' long-standing similar notion, Milk 'n Cereal bars (Honey Nut Cheerios or Cinnamon Toast Crunch), contain 25 percent of the daily value for calcium; they are sold in the cereal aisle.

The General Mills bars, six to the 8.5- or 9-ounce box, cost $3.29 at one discount supermarket, where Kraft's Milk Bite bars, five to the 6.15-ounce box, cost $3.69 -- more than 50 percent more per ounce.

Do they really need to be refrigerated, or is that marketing? Mr. Tidbit can't even guess.