V8 now comes in purple

Mr. Tidbit likes to say there was a time — oh, not so long ago — when, if someone asked you to stop on your way home and pick up some V8, your only reasonable question would have been, "Why don't you pick it up?" That time is now just a quaint memory, and it seems to be getting a little quainter almost every day.

Mr. Tidbit last updated his catalog of the nation's V8 supply less than three months ago, when he noted the introduction of four varieties apparently intended to be bar mixers (Mint & Lime V8, for example, which the V8 website suggests could be used to make a Bloody Mojito).

There are now four more V8 varieties, which Mr. Tidbit would guess are to be marketed to a rather different group of consumers — those who somehow associate color with healthfulness or spirituality or something. They are: Healthy Greens, Purple Power, Golden Goodness and Carrot Mango (apparently the vice president for parallelism was off when that last one got named).

These products are 75 percent juice, get their color from some of the veggies therein (purple from beets, green from spinach and so on) and contain no sweeteners other than any sugars in the vegetables and fruits of which they consist. Thus an 8-ounce serving of each is 50 or 60 calories.

They are in the same price and bottle-size group as the 100 percent juice 100-calorie V8 V-Fusion and 50 percent juice 50-calorie sucralose-sweetened V8 V-Fusion Light (at one store $3.89 for a 46-ounce bottle — 8.5 cents per ounce). That's rightfully quite a bit more than the 5 percent juice (yes, 5 percent) 80-calorie sucralose-sweetened V8 Splash and 5 percent juice 10-calorie V8 Splash Diet, sweetened with sucralose and acesulfame potassium ($2.99 for 64 ounces — 4.7 cents per ounce). But it's also more expensive than the many flavors of 100 percent juice 50-calorie original V8 ($3.19 for 46 ounces — 6.9 cents per ounce).

One for every week

Although some V8 varieties have vanished as others appeared (V8 V-Fusion+Tea has been bagged, for example, and Sparkling V8 V-Fusion has fizzled out), the V8-hungry consumer should not worry that the range of choices is narrowing. Mr. Tidbit believes there are now at least 52.

Al Sicherman