BIG price

Mr. Tidbit has a new nomination for the department of “How dumb do they think we are?” It’s the new limited-edition BIG Ritz crackers.

Mr. Tidbit isn’t sure exactly what advantages are inherent in a cracker that is about 2 ½ inches in diameter instead of the regular 1 ¾-inch number, but he doesn’t see any harm in it, either.

No, what Mr. Tidbit finds stupefying about BIG Ritz is the apparent calculation by Nabisco (or Kraft Foods or Mondelez or whoever actually employs the Oreo folks) that shoppers who might be vaguely intrigued by the idea of an oversize Ritz cracker wouldn’t notice this: The underfilled puffy bag, which typically sells for the same price as the 13.7-ounce box of regular Ritzes, contains only 6 (yes, 6) ounces of the larger crackers.

This general idea is nothing new. For quite some time now, grocery manufacturers (particularly this one — see the latest limited-edition Oreos, below) have been working this little flimflam job: Introduce a variant of your product (one that costs essentially no more to make), sell the package for the same price as the regular product, but make it a smaller package.

It’s a silent price increase, and Mr. Tidbit thinks that the 6-ounce bag of BIG Ritz must set some kind of record at it. At a store where both sell for $2.49, that puts the 13.7-ounce box of regular Ritzes at 18.1 cents an ounce and the 6-ounce bag of BIG Ritzes at 41.5 cents an ounce — more than double.


Yet more Oreos

It seems that Mr. Tidbit can no more rise above noticing the latest limited-edition flavor of Oreo cookies than Oreo can rise above making them.

This time there are two at once: There’s S’Mores Oreos, consisting of “graham-flavored” cookies sandwiching a double filling (marshmallow and chocolate flavored). And Lemon Twist Oreos, with a filling that is a bit more lemony than that of regular Lemon Oreos (and the cookies are regular chocolate Oreo cookies, not the Golden Oreo cookies that come with regular Lemon Oreos). Both weigh in at just 10.7 ounces, (so they cost 34 percent more per ounce than the 14.3-ounce bag of regular Oreos and 43 percent more per ounce than the 15.25-ounce bag of Lemon Oreos).

Al Sicherman