Name: Smucker’s Uncrustables
What It Is: Thaw-and-serve peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with no crusts
Preparation: Thaw 30 minutes, open wrapper
Product’s Advantage: Eliminates effort of unscrewing jars, opening bread bags, fussing over peanut butter in the jelly jar (and vice versa), spreading sticky stuff on bread, scrubbing peanut-buttery utensils.
Name: P.J. Squares
What It Is: A peanut butter and jelly product in grape and strawberry flavors, packaged like individually wrapped cheese slices
Preparation: Unwrap peanut butter and jelly slice, plop onto bread
Product’s Advantage: Same as for Uncrustables, except that you must supply bread.
Name: It’s Pasta Anytime
What It Is: Microwavable individual servings of pasta in specially dimpled microwavable cooking containers that can double as serving bowls
Preparation: Open individual packets of noodles and sauce into cooking tray, mix, microwave
Product’s Advantage: Eliminates effort of boiling noodles, cooking sauce, washing dishes.
Name: Uncle Ben’s Mini Bowls
What It Is: Child-size (or snack-size) version of Uncle Ben’s Rice and Pasta Bowls, in microwavable cooking containers that can double as serving bowls
Preparation: Remove lid and microwave
Product’s Advantage: See It’s Pasta Anytime.
Name: Chicken of the Sea Tuna Salad Kits
What It Is: Premeasured, vacuum-sealed pouches of no-drain tuna, low-fat mayonnaise, and dry seasonings
Preparation: Open packages, mix
Product’s Advantage: No more worrying about whether your mayonnaise has spoiled–that is, if you don’t mind eating warm tuna salad.
Name: Quaker Oats’ Take Heart products
What It Is: A line of products (cold cereal, snack bars, juice drinks) containing Reducol, a cholesterol-reducing ingredient made from a powdery by-product of wood pulp
Preparation: Same as equivalent Reducol-free products
Product’s Advantage: Though it sounds disgusting, the powdery wood pulp by-product doesn’t affect food’s flavor, says the manufacturer. Really.
Name: Pepperidge Farm Goldfish “Blaster Pack”
What It Is: Fish-shaped crackers in a flip-top plastic tube that fits into cars’ cup holders, perfect for chugging mouthfuls at a time while driving
Product’s Advantage: The empty plastic tube serves as extra storage for adults or as a makeshift toy for kids: “Children have . . . dressed the package up as homemade dolls and have even used the canisters as bowling pins.”
Name: Heinz Purple EZ Squirt
What It Is: Purple ketchup, following in the footsteps of the green ketchup released in 2000
Product’s Advantage: Purple is a “bold, fun color that brings a hint of mystery and magic,” say the people at Heinz.
Name: Dulce de Leche M&M’s
What It Is: M&M’s with a caramel-chocolate swirl center
Product’s Advantage: “Through this unique new flavor, the M&M’s brand will aim to strengthen its relationship with the increasingly influential Latino community,” say the people at M&M/Mars Inc.
Name: Boston Market Home Style Meals
What It Is: Frozen versions of the fast-food chain’s meals
Preparation: Remove packaging and microwave
Product’s Advantage: Though the hot meals served in actual Boston Market restaurants were so unpopular that the chain filed for Chapter 11 in 1998, the frozen product manufactured by Heinz sold more than $130 million in its first year.