Cheeziness

Just when Mr. Tidbit was beginning to think that food companies were running out of ways to charge more for the same thing, he stumbled upon Stouffer’s new Mac Cups — frozen macaroni and cheese in two-packs of 6-ounce plastic tubs (total 12 ounces). Stouffer’s already makes frozen macaroni and cheese in a two-serving 12-ounce plastic tray. At one store the tray was \$2.79 and the Mac Cups were \$3.19. At another the tray was \$3.43 and the cups were \$3.73.

Admittedly the cups are handy if you want only one serving. And while there seems to be only one variety of Stouffer’s M & C in the 12-ounce tray, the new cups come in Classic, White Cheddar & Bacon, and Cheeseburger.

Hang in with Mr. Tidbit here: Stouffer’s also makes a larger 20-ounce (567-gram) tray of frozen M & C. According to its nutrition label, the serving size is “1 cup, 225 grams” and there are “about 2½” servings in the tray. Indeed, there are almost exactly 2.5 (225-gram) servings in a 567-gram tray. And back in the units we all know and love, if there are 2½ servings in a 20-ounce tray, they are 8 ounces each.

Things get strange when we move down to the 12-ounce (340-gram) tray, as its label says that a serving is the same “1 cup (225 grams),” and that the tray contains “about 2” servings. Mr. Tidbit notes that if there were two (225-gram) servings in the tray, it would weigh 450 grams, not 340. Or (wowing ’em with his long division), he points out that there are only 1.5 (225-gram) servings in a 340-gram tray, not “about 2.” Perhaps clearer: Two servings in a 12-ounce (340 gram) tray are 6 ounces (170 grams) each, not the 225 grams (8 ounces) mentioned.

OK, now the new Mac Cups. Stouffer’s has found a more honest but perfectly unhelpful way to describe the contents of each 6-ounce (170 gram) half of the two-tub package. Instead of claiming the serving size to be 1 cup (225 grams) and the number of servings to be “about 1” (but in fact only 3/4), it says that the serving size is “1 unit, 170 grams.”

Mmmm! Units!

Al Sicherman