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