Seeing through it

As more and more supermarket space has been devoted to Swanson stocks and broths — and their low-sodium, no-salt, organic, "flavor-infused" and other more or less reasonable variations, it probably was high time for Swanson to offer some kind of meaningless convenience packaging at inflated cost.

Most of the Swanson offerings these days are in "brick" (aseptic) packages, typically containing 32 ounces. But the newest Swanson offering is chicken broth in a 24-ounce "easy measure" plastic bottle with a see-through strip that lets you see the level of broth within. Although this breakthrough — "No need for cups! Pour what you need, know how much is left" — possibly obviates use of the measuring cup, it does require working knowledge of subtraction.

What's the harm in that? Surely you know what's coming: At one supermarket, where Swanson's regular 32-ounce brick pack of chicken broth is $1.99 (6.2 cents per ounce), the new 24-ounce bottle is $2.79 (11.6 cents an ounce). That's a staggering 87 percent more! For a see-through strip! At another store, both were $2.99, so the increase at that store is merely a whopping 33 percent. (To be able to recognize this situation while standing in the soup aisle, a consumer might benefit from having a working knowledge of long division or a calculator app. Or a suspicious mind.)

Kissing up?

There already were more flavors and varieties of Hershey Kisses (and the related Hugs) (and the more distantly affiliated Nuggets and Drops) than Mr. Tidbit could reasonably have imagined. But Hershey apparently suspects that a bag of, say, cherry cordial creme Kisses or even pumpkin spice Kisses might not be quite as spiffy a Christmas item as you might desire.

So now there are Kisses Deluxe: Each such goodie has a whole roasted hazelnut at its center, the surrounding milk chocolate is studded with rice crisps, and the whole thing is about twice the size of a regular Kiss.

Where he found them, a four-pack was $1.25, on sale from $1.39. There are other sizes, including gift bags of 15 and 35 and a gift box of 75 that Mr. Tidbit is told lists for $32. That's 43 cents each, but maybe it's a nice box. (A bag of 72 regular Kisses at that store was $4.29 — 6 cents each.)

Al Sicherman