Gluten-free snacks

Grocery firms' happiness to meet the popular appetite for gluten-free items continues unabated, and even seems to have moved up a notch. Mr. Tidbit might be overreacting to the appearance of a new product from Lance, but he's pretty sure that a Rubicon has been crossed: Presenting Lance gluten-free bite-size sandwich crackers, your choice of Cheddar cheese or peanut butter. That's right: Now there's gluten-free junk food.

Mr. Tidbit must acknowledge that the tiny new items have a satisfying texture, something not typically achieved in gluten-free baking. One of Mr. Tidbit's little friends initially objected to his calling them "junk food," but later acknowledged that they were really salty and could she please have some more.

The new items come in a 5.3-ounce box containing a single large bag of tiny round cracker sandwiches, as opposed to Lance's more familiar many varieties of larger, rectangular cracker sandwiches that are sold in boxes of eight lunch-bag packets. (Each such packet contains six sandwiches.)

Mr. Tidbit couldn't find both the new and the long-standing Lance products at any single store, so he bought his at two stores that have very similar pricing patterns. Where he bought the eight-packet Lance cheese lovers variety pack, the 10.75-ounce item was $3.59 — 33 cents an ounce. Where he bought the 5-ounce box of Lance gluten-free sandwich crackers, it was $3.79 — 76 cents an ounce. Are you really surprised?

Cheesy from the oven

We had Velveeta Cheesy Skillets dinner kits, in many just-add-beef or just-add-chicken varieties, each of which is said to serve five. (There are also quite a few Velveeta Cheesy Skillets Singles.)

Now there are Velveeta Cheesy Casseroles dinner kits, which go into the oven instead of the frying pan or the microwave. There are four just-add-beef or just-add-chicken varieties, each said to serve "about 4.5."

Mr. Tidbit feels compelled to note that all but one each of the skillets dinner kits and the casseroles dinner kits are sold as Velveeta Cheesy Skillets and Velveeta Cheesy Casseroles, respectively. The Nacho Supreme skillet item is called a Velveeta Classic American Skillets dinner kit, and the Loaded Mashed Potato casserole item is labeled a Velveeta Classic American Casseroles dinner kit. Apparently these two aren't so cheesy.

Al Sicherman