Peanuts and what?

The latest breakfast entry from Kellogg is Jif peanut butter cereal (made with Jif peanut butter). Folks allergic to peanuts obviously wouldn’t want to buy Jif cereal, but neither, oddly enough, should folks allergic to pecans, walnuts or almonds (and possibly other tree nuts), ingredients noted on both the front and the back of the box.

There aren’t any pecans, walnuts or almonds in Jif peanut butter; why would they appear in this cereal? The contents list answers that question, sort of: The cereal contains “natural and artificial flavor (contains pecan, walnut and almond).” Why peanut butter cereal is flavored with pecans, walnuts and almonds remains mysterious. Reese’s Puffs, a General Mills cereal containing peanut butter and natural and artificial flavor, has no such ingredients, nor does Peanut Butter Multigrain Cheerios, which has no added flavor ingredients at all.

(Jif cereal also contains wheat flour, a potential allergen, but that’s true of many cereals.)


Puttin’ off the Ritz

There’s yet another flavor of Ritz crackers — bacon, with black pepper. Mr. Tidbit wasn’t going to discuss this product at all — it’s just a new flavor of an existing product (and there isn’t any bacon in it, just natural flavor and smoke flavor).

Then he noticed that the box of Bacon Ritzes weighed just 13.25 ounces. Thinking that was quite a step down from the 15.1-ounce box of original Ritzes, he looked to make sure they carried the same price. (They do.) That’s when he saw that the box of original Ritzes (and those of most other Ritzes) isn’t 15.1 ounces anymore; it’s 13.7 ounces. If the price on the shelf didn’t drop (he hadn’t noted the earlier price but somehow he doubts it dropped), that’s a 10 percent price increase. He doesn’t know when it happened, but hidden price increases like that are all too common these days.

Nor does he know when the 16-ounce box became 15.1 ounces (a 6 percent price increase if the shelf price didn’t drop); he reported that change in September of 2011. Here’s what he said then:

“OK, that’s one hidden price increase too many to treat as isolated incidents. Mr. Tidbit doesn’t care what else you’ve heard; there is general inflation in grocery prices.”


Al Sicherman