There's always a new flavor of Kellogg's Pop-Tarts, but now there's an entirely different item with the Pop-Tarts name: Pop-Tarts Mini Crisps, described on the box as "tasty baked bites." Mr. Tidbit would call them tiny plain cookies. Whereas a box of eight Pop-Tarts (each weighing about 1.75 ounces, depending on variety) costs $2.39 at one store -- that's 30 cents each -- the box of only six pouches of Pop-Tart Mini Crisps (each weighing 0.81 ounces -- less than half as much as a Pop-Tart) costs $3.25 at that store -- 54 cents each.

How ... convenient!

One way in which grocery firms wring some extra nickels out of products they already make is to provide alternate packaging -- usually smaller, often with a single-serving or "convenience" factor -- and virtually always at a higher per-ounce price.

Mr. Tidbit's minimal-convenience favorite has long been Jif to Go (peanut butter in a pack of six tublets). But for sheer chutzpah, Mr. Tidbit avers, you would have to go a long way to top new Nestle Toll House Mini Toppers -- an 8-ounce plastic shaker jar of miniature semisweet chocolate chips. The label proclaims "Nestle Toll House Mini Toppers make it easy to add flair to your favorite treats!"

The front of the jar shows a swirl of mini chocolate chips descending onto a frosted cupcake. Elsewhere, the packaging urges you to "Shake on the fun," thus apparently freeing you from a drab existence in which you have to pour some chips out of a 12-ounce bag by hand.

A 12-ounce bag of Nestle semisweet mini morsels is $2.49 at one discount supermarket. At the same store the 8-ounce shaker jar of Mini Toppers is $2.59. That's 56 percent more per ounce. (Mini Toppers also come in Premier White, Nestle's imitation white chocolate.)


Colorful pricing

Like everyone else in the frozen-vegetables business, Green Giant has a line of frozen vegetables in steamer bags. The Valley Fresh Steamers offerings include several vegetable mixtures.

And now there are four Valley Fresh Steamers mixtures called Healthy Colors, each containing three or more vegetables of different colors: Market Blend (carrots, zucchini, tomatoes and yellow bell peppers), Farmer's Blend (cauliflower, snap peas, carrots and cranberries), Nature's Blend (carrots, yellow carrots, green beans and red bell peppers) and Valley Blend (broccoli, carrots and golden cauliflower). The bags of Farmer's Blend advise "A colorful variety of vegetables provides a broad range of nutrients."

The other Green Giant Steamers come in 12-ounce bags. The Healthy Colors varieties, sold for the same price, are in 11-ounce bags, so they cost 9 percent more per ounce.