Have you noticed the ‘new thing’ in the produce department? It all started with pre-cut, pre-washed Salad Greens. But, recently, supermarkets – especially the big ones – have begun offering other veggies in various stages of preparation… At premium prices many folks seem happy to pay!
The ‘trend’ to ‘convenience produce’ has accelerated alarmingly recently. First it was pre-washed, pre-cut Salad Greens. Then came foam trays of other pre-trimmed and sliced Salad ingredients including but not limited to Sweet Peppers, celery and carrot sticks, shreds and ‘juliennes’. And don’t forget the pre-sliced Mushrooms.
I’ve even seen pre-chopped Onions – plain old Cooking Onions – on offer. Would you pay twice as much per pound for those? Just to save a minute or two in your overall meal preparation?
I’ve seen pre-prepped Carrot sticks selling for twice the price, per unit (pound / kg) of regular bagged Carrots racked right next door in the display. It goes on and on.
But here’s one of the most insidious instances of pre-prep inflation: I call it The Broccoli Break.
At the supermarket I usually patronize for non-specialty items recently introduced ‘convenience Broccoli’. That is a two-tier Broccoli system in which regular Broccoli heads are priced at $2.99 per bunch and pre-trimmed, stemless broccoli ‘crowns’ are priced at $2.99 per pound.
Three ‘crowns’ will weigh, on average, 2.5 pounds (1.2 kg). That’s over $6.00. Meanwhiule, a bunch of two or three (depending on head size) regular, stem-on Broccoli heads, still costs just $2.99. How long does it take to cut the stem off a head of Broccoli???
The moral(s) to this story:
Convenience costs. Big time!
Supermarkets hide the inflated costs of convenience produce items in a number of different ways.
Always consider the unit cost of produce items when deciding whether to buy pre-prepped. How much extra time and trouble is it to trim it yourself?
Keep in mind that pre-prepped produce, once peeled and cut, loses freshness quicker than regular produce. You’re getting even less for your money, nutrition-wise!
~ Maggie J.