Food & Drink

Skillet sauces, cornbread crackers and sausage snacks are new on grocery shelves

Mr. Tidbit doesn’t know why, but there seems to be a sudden profusion of “skillet sauces” — something you add to sautéed meat and maybe vegetables to produce a main dish.

Campbell’s and Progresso have been joined now by spice merchant McCormick, which offers no fewer than seven skillet sauces “with natural spices,” including fajita, BBQ chicken, Sicilian chicken and more. The website, helpfully but a bit oddly, classifies all the sauces by flavor attributes — smoky, salty, starchy, sweet, vegetable, “garlic-onionish,” yeasty and umami.

In one of those probably-not-coincidences that Mr. Tidbit has never understood, all three brands of skillet sauces come in 9-ounce foil pouches.

CORNY

New from Keebler’s Club brand of crackers are Cornbread Cracker Bites, in two flavors: homestyle and jalapeño. Mr. Tidbit would allow that although the thick little yellow items are more like cornbread than, say, potato chips are like cornbread, they are far more like crackers than they are like cornbread. But they’re not bad. And the jalapeño flavor is pretty spicy.

SNACKY

Mr. Tidbit isn’t sure why he delayed discussing the new Hillshire Snacking products when they first appeared this year, but with the end of the year looming he wants to be sure to get them off his list. Maybe he was uncomfortable discussing Hillshire Snacking because that’s the name of the products — Hillshire Snacking — and it keeps looking like he’s forgotten the noun. In any case there are two lines:

One is grilled chicken bites with a choice of three dipping sauces. At the discount store where Mr. Tidbit found them, the 3.25-ounce trays were $2.29.

The other is four different cracker-cheese-sausage combinations called “small plates.” But make that toast rounds, not crackers. Think basic Lunchables, but well up the food chain from that. The cheese-and-sausage combinations are Italian dry salami and Gouda, hot Calabrese salami and pepper Jack, Genoa salami and Gouda, and peppered salami and Gouda.

Mr. Tidbit should note that the sausage is so upscale that in every case the package spells it “salame.” These 3.2-ounce packages were $2.79, compared with the similar but far less trendy Lunchables in similar-size packages, which were $1.74 at the same store.

Mr. Tidbit is a weekly feature that examines new grocery products.

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