Food & Drink

Mr. Tidbit: ‘New’ peanuts, diced mango, no-fruit fruit juice on store shelves now

Mr. Tidbit faces the new year armed with perhaps the oddest (yet) salted-caramel product: Planters Salted Caramel Peanuts. Given that peanuts are typically salted, and often honey-roasted, you might ask what’s so odd about Planters climbing on the bandwagon by throwing in some caramel.

Mr. Tidbit is glad you might have asked. He must first note that the ingredients list reveals that the salt involved is sea salt, a fact that is often part of the product’s name for that extra bit of trendiness. What makes Planters so diffident about its Salted Caramel Peanuts that it doesn’t proclaim that they’re made with sea salt?

Mr. Tidbit wonders if it’s embarrassment: Although the product contains enough sugar (in the form of sugar, brown sugar, honey, corn syrup and dried molasses) to constitute more than 20 percent of each serving by weight, and thus, surely, more than enough to turn into honest caramel, apparently it didn’t taste sufficiently salted-caramely. The front label is straightforward enough to announce, in surprisingly large type, that Planters Salted Caramel Peanuts are artificially flavored.

EXOTIC NO MORE

Mr. Tidbit acknowledges that these days even folks who live way outside of the tropics are familiar with mangoes. But he is old enough to remember — even if you’re not — when natives of, say, Minnesota, would have thought diced mangoes were pretty exotic.

We have come so far from those days that Del Monte, which has for quite a while offered diced mangoes in four-packs of 4-ounce tublets, has introduced boring 15-ounce cans of diced mangoes. (Both products are packed in light syrup.) The most remarkable aspect of this introduction, at least to Mr. Tidbit, is that the 15-ounce can of Del Monte diced mangoes sells for the same price as the 15-ounce can of Del Monte sliced peaches.

EVEN LESS EXOTIC

Speaking of mangoes, guess how much of the juice in the Mango Pineapple with White Cranberries version of Ocean Spray’s new Wave juice drink (a drink containing a whopping 5 percent juice) is mango juice and how much is pineapple juice?

None. Of either.

It’s water, cane or beet sugar, apple juice from concentrate, white cranberry juice from concentrate, and natural flavors.

No berries in the Berry Medley version of Wave, either.

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

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