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!
There’s no end to the pre-prepped produce you can get at the supermarket
these days – and that doesn’t count the party trays and
personal salads from the deli section!
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.