By Wanda Adams
Advertiser Food Editor
Do Americans ever sit down at a dining-room table anymore? And when they do, do they ever eat anything their great-grandparents would recognize?
Squeeze foods. ConAgra Foods has gone tubular with Hershey's Portable Pudding and Jolly Rancher Portable Gel Snacks refrigerated, single-serve products designed to be squeezed into your mouth with one hand, presumably so you can keep holding the phone and driving with the other ($1.59). Yoplait and other brands have similar products.
Shake it up. A hot trend is drinkable meals, most often packaged in wide-mouthed, squat plastic containers and often marketed with a claim of being nutrition-rich and low-fat. Yoplait has Nouriche, nonfat, fruit-flavored yogurt smoothies ($1.59, 11 ounces). Meadow Gold just introduced iS Probiotic "immuno stimulation" milk and juice drink (sort of like a Creamsicle) featuring "healthy bacteria" to maintain intestinal health and fight other ills ($1.59, 16 ounces).
Quick, quick. I still feel a little guilty using Bisquick instead of making biscuits from scratch. Now for those who can't be bothered measuring, there's pouch-packed, just-add-water Bisquick Complete Buttermilk Biscuits, $1.59 for six biscuits.
Colors and flavors. This is where things get surreal. Everywhere you look, foods are being flavored for you (like you truly don't have time to chop some garlic) and painted with coats of many colors. Heinz is making "Funky Purple" ketchup ($2.79 in EZ Squirt bottles) and ketchup flavored like barbecue sauce, garlic or chilies (Ketchup Kick'rs). But Ore-Ida gets the prize: Kool Blue Funky Fries and Cocoa Crisps blue french fries and chocolate-flavored fried potatoes.
Fruit favors. Playing on the widely held belief that fruit is good for you are the shake drinks mentioned above, but also such products as Tree Top's Fruit Rollz applesauce to go (more tube food) and vacuum-packed single-serving bowls of plain fruit and fruit in gelatin that need no refrigeration. By the way, fruit IS good for you when it's eaten fresh, preferably with peel and seeds, with no added sugar, fat or thickeners.