Mr. Tidbit must acknowledge that when Fresh Stacks packages of Ritz crackers first appeared, he paid no attention. Had he bothered, he would have said "same product, smaller box (13.66 ounces instead of 16), same price, 17 percent more expensive per ounce."

What he failed to notice was that, perhaps for the first time, a snack label acknowledged that you might eat more than the FDA's standard serving (in the case of crackers, 16 grams, a bit more than half an ounce -- five Ritzes).

True, long ago the FDA changed the rules so the label on a 12-ounce can of pop says that it is one 12-ounce serving, not 11/2 (8-ounce) servings. But that was because nobody drinks two-thirds of a can of pop. This is different:

See, the 13.66-ounce Fresh Stacks package contains eight separately wrapped stacks of crackers, 15 in each, instead of the 16-ounce box's four separately wrapped stacks of 35 crackers each. Nabisco's Ritz marketing folks say that's to increase the crackers' portability and freshness: "Not only is it easier to take them with you, but you'll only open what you need, having fresh-tasting crackers each time."

Possibly true enough, but somewhere deep inside Nabisco, apparently some honest soul decided to acknowledge on the nutrition label that instead of five crackers you might eat a whole stack of 15.

So right next to the column that indicates that a serving of Ritz crackers contains 80 calories, 4.5 grams of fat and 135 milligrams of sodium, another column shows that a single Fresh Stack contains 250 calories, 14 grams of fat and 410 milligrams of sodium! (Oh, faithful readers who multiplied by three: Differences are due to rounding.)


Mint muddle

The Keebler elves have produced another "middles" cookie: Mint Creme Middles -- chocolate graham cookies each topped with a puddle of light green mint creme. Don't confuse them with Keebler's Grasshopper Fudge Mint cookies. Those are chocolate cookies enrobed in mint fudge.

Do we need both? Probably.