Kool-Aid again

If you've been thinking "I wish there could be yet another way to make Kool-Aid," this is your lucky day. We already had the regular little paper envelope of powder (add water and sugar), the giant tub of premixed sugar and powder (add water), the small squeeze bottle of artificially sweetened "water enhancer" (squeeze into bottled water), Bursts (presweetened ready-to-drink bottles), Jammers (presweetened ready-to-drink pouches), Singles (presweetened powder to pour into bottled water) and no doubt some others that Mr. Tidbit has missed/forgotten/disdained. Now there's Easy Mix, presweetened liquid Kool-Aid concentrate, in an 18.2-ounce pour-spout bottle (add to a glass or bottle of water, or add more to a pitcher of water).

The per-serving price of the new version is, of course, more than for the little envelope, even after you add the sugar, and it's more than for the premix tub, but it's pretty much in line with the "water enhancer" and the Singles, and lots less than the ready-to-drink Jammers and Bursts.

And now there's also Country Time Lemonade Starter, in the same 18.2-ounce pour-spout-bottle of concentrate, for the same price as Kool-Aid Easy Mix.

Fruit in veggie juice

New from Del Monte are several varieties of Fruit & Veggie Fusions in four-packs of 4-ounce tubs, each of which is 75 percent of a serving of fruit and 25 percent of a serving of vegetables. The package explains that the vegetables are in the juice (it's pumpkin, sweet potato and butternut squash juices).

Microwave Prego

Campbell's has been heavily into pouches of sauce lately, so it shouldn't be much of a surprise to find its Prego pasta sauce brand turning up on some kind of pouch. It's Prego Ready Meals, several varieties of single-serving pasta and sauce combinations that microwave in the pouch in 60 seconds. At the same time, "for a southwest twist," Campbell's Pace brand introduces several varieties of similar Pace Ready Meals pouches. At one discount store all the 9-ounce pouches were $2.29.

Without speaking to the quality or yumminess of any of these products, Mr. Tidbit notes that ConAgra's Chef Boyardee brand 14.25-ounce microwave bowls of various pastas and sauces are $1.74 at the same store, and the 7.5-ounce bowls are 99 cents.

Al Sicherman