Cheese, fruit and nuts

Until recently, Wisconsin cheesemaker Sargento simply made cheese (shreds, slices, sticks, strings and little blocks called Tastings). Now it has stepped off into a whole new world, with snacks called Balanced Breaks. Each 1.5-ounce snack contains natural cheese, nuts and dried fruit.

There are four varieties: sharp white Cheddar cheese, sea salted cashews and golden raisins; pepper Jack cheese, honey roasted peanuts and raisins; white Cheddar cheese, sea salted roasted almonds and dried cranberries; and sharp Cheddar cheese, sea salted cashews and dried cranberries. They are sold in packs of three snacks, at one store going for $4.49, or $1.50 per snack.

Rule breakers

Mr. Tidbit has been relentless in pointing out examples of his rule that every new version of an existing product costs more than the original. Thus he feels obliged to point out two new products from one company that are welcome exceptions. Not only don't they cost more per ounce, they actually cost less!

At one supermarket, where the original version of Post's Honey Bunches of Oats cereal sells for $2.99, new Honey Bunches of Oats Whole Grain Honey Crunch is $3.29, which might seem to be a price increase. But the original cereal is in a 14.5-ounce box, so it costs 20.6 cents an ounce, while the new one is in an 18-ounce box, so it costs just 18.3 cents per ounce.

And Post's Shredded Wheat now is available in a version with sweetened granola clusters — Shredded Wheat Crunch. At one discount store, the spoon-size version of original Shredded Wheat, in a 16.4-ounce box, is $2.48 — 15.1 cents per ounce; at that store, the 18.25-ounce box of Shredded Wheat Crunch is also $2.48 — just 13.6 cents per ounce.

Eat Darth Vader?

While he was in the cereal aisle, Mr. Tidbit was startled to see several cereals with shapes based on movies and TV shows. From Kellogg's there's a cereal based on "Frozen," and from General Mills, there are "Star Wars," Minions" and "Go, Diego, Go" cereals. That last one, for folks as far out of touch as Mr. Tidbit suddenly feels, was (he learned from Wikipedia) a kids' TV show that ran from 2005 to 2011. All this reminded him of the endless licensed-character cereals produced long ago by Ralston, including Mr. Tidbit's peculiar favorite, Urkel-Os.

Al Sicherman