Starter is a stopper
Bertolli, which has 24-ounce frozen "complete skillet meals for two" that include pasta, now has four frozen "family size" Meal Starters, similar but without the pasta, in 26-ounce bags. It says each serves five when tossed "with five cups of your favorite cooked pasta (10 oz. uncooked)."
Mr. Tidbit thought that dividing the 26-ounce bag of sauce among five servings didn't sound like much sauce. He prepared Meal Starters and found he was right: There was much less sauce for the pasta than was the case with the complete-with-pasta 24-ounce Bertolli skillet meals for two that he had tried.
There's a little more than 5 ounces of sauce per serving in the "five-serving" bag of Meal Starter, but the Bertolli skillet meals for two have something like 8 ounces of sauce per serving -- that's about 50 percent more sauce per serving. If you want that nice 8 ounces of sauce per serving, a Meal Starter provides only three servings, not five. At one discount store, where the 24-ounce skillet meals for two cost $6.84 ($3.42 per serving), the Meal Starter costs $9.99. Dry pasta costs about 20 cents a serving. If it really served five, the Meal Starter with pasta would cost $2.20 per serving. But if it really serves only three, it costs, with pasta, $3.53 per serving -- and you have to cook the pasta.
Mr. Tidbit has said Campbell's new "slow kettle style" soups come in "15.5-ounce microwaveable tubs." Oddly, as a reader pointed out, the tubs are not microwaveable.