Mr. Tidbit had barely finished saying that he doesn't write about products that aren't in most stores when he learned that Minnesota is one of the test markets for two new V8 energy drinks, but that availability seems to be spotty. If having a V8 energy drink is somehow important to you, you might want to vote with your wallet by buying a bunch.

The drinks are V8 V-Fusion + Energy and V8 Energy Shots. Campbell's informs Mr. Tidbit that V8 V-Fusion + Energy drinks are a blend of vegetable and fruit juices plus natural green tea. An 8-ounce can contains 50 calories, B-vitamins, no added sugar and 80 milligrams of caffeine, "comparable to the leading energy drink." They are only at Wal-Mart, for $3.98 a six-pack. (Mr. Tidbit notes that it would be wrong -- but not very -- to confuse V8 V-Fusion + Energy with the existing product V8 V-Fusion + Tea, which apparently has less caffeine.)

While V8 V-Fusion + Energy is an 8-ounce beverage, V8 Energy Shots are itty-bitty 2.5-ounce bottles of nine 100 percent vegetable and fruit juices plus green tea extract, which "provides natural caffeine comparable to an 8-ounce cup of the leading premium coffee." Each contains one combined serving of vegetables and fruit, as well as significant amounts of vitamins A, C and E and five B vitamins. Find them at many Cub stores and SuperAmerica stations, typically for what Mr. Tidbit thinks is an astounding $2.99 each or $4.99 for a two-pack.


How cheesy!

Kraft's Velveeta brand now makes a head-to-head "just add ground beef" and "just add chicken" challenge to Betty Crocker's Hamburger (and Chicken) Helper. It's called Velveeta Cheesy Skillets: Ultimate Cheeseburger Mac, Nacho Supreme, Zesty BBQ Chicken, or chicken and broccoli. The Velveeta products' cheese sauce is already sauce (not sauce mix), in a pouch, so the boxes are heavier than the Betty Crocker products, but both make five (1-cup) servings. At one store, where Hamburger Helper was $1.99, Cheesy Skillets was $2.45.