Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

An unwelcome packaging trend of more, more, more November 21, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:01 AM
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IF YOU NEEDED ONLY ONE green pepper for a recipe, would you buy three?



If you wanted only one lemon, would you purchase a half dozen?

You probably wouldn’t. But the discount grocery store I shop is now offering some produce items only as pre-packaged and in larger quantities than I want or need. That troubles me. Produce is perishable, which means I likely will end up tossing fruits and vegetables that spoil before I can eat them. With only two in our household now, we don’t go through food nearly as quickly as with three kids at home.

So you might suggest I shop at another grocery store. I do, for the items I can’t find at my regular grocer. But often times purchasing say a single pepper at the second choice store will cost more than buying three packaged peppers at the discount grocer. I am a budget conscious shopper. I have to be given outrageously high health insurance premiums (about $1,300/month now and soon to be $1,500/month) are sucking away the major portion of my family income.

The bottom line is this—I don’t like bulk packaging of food or other items such as tissue and toilet paper. The manufacturer is forcing me to buy more. More, more, more. That seems to be the American mantra in a world with too many people starving and living in poverty.

TELL ME: What do you think of this pre-packaging trend?

© Copyright 2017 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


30 Responses to “An unwelcome packaging trend of more, more, more”

  1. The trend stinks! I’m with you Audrey! 🙂

  2. Marilyn Donnell Says:

    I’ve been mentally fussing about prepackaged fruit and veg sizes for a while now. I agree that with an ageing population it makes so much better sense to allow the customer to choose their own amounts. Exception to the rule: last year I was gifted a bag of 2 dozen lemons which was a welcomed bonus. The grated rind and juice was frozen and we are still enjoying that bounty.

  3. Beth Ann Says:

    Interesting question. I don’t always shop at the discount store that you shop at because it is 25 miles away. If I buy too much (which is usually the case) and I have produce I won’t be able to use (usually because of travel) I try to freeze what I can since we have the luxury of having a freezer. If it is something that one of my neighbors will use I take them a goodie bag of produce or leave it for the girl that takes care of my cat. Yes, I have wasted some money but I try to not let it go to waste. I think the packaging is truly a way for stores to conveniently package items but it definitely is not helpful to individuals or small families who want only one. I feel your pain.

    • You are so thoughtful to share your extras. The small grocery store where I shop offers limited choices. But that’s OK with me in most sections except produce. There I want to be able to choose my own fruit, my own veggies and not feel forced to purchase more than I need or want. I have a freezer, too, but not everything freezes well.

  4. Joyce in Kansas Says:

    Another two person household – I HATE it and have limited choices on where to shop!

  5. I’m not sure it’s. a ‘more more’ philosophy as it is an attempt by your grocer to cutdown on his supply costs much as you and I have to budget and look for savings. I haven’t encountered only prepackaged goods but I like to pick and select my own! I was wondering how your attempts to find a better insurance plan was going. Happy Thanksgiving

  6. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:

    I’ve never thought of it from that perspective. I enjoy it but we are a bigger family that consumes more of everything. I find that it’s cheaper for us to buy in bulk especially when we are 40 miles from a grocery store. However, I hate wasting food and I would be upset if I wasn’t using everything that I purchase.

  7. I will assume that you have discussed this with store management, as I am sure that you are not the only one with this problem..A small fresh produce section may be beneficial to many as well as the store itself.

  8. Almost Iowa Says:

    Things like that make me grumpy.

    The #1 question of retail is “who is being served?” When the answer is the bottom line, the business is headed for the sewer and it is best to just walk away.

  9. Kathleen Cassen Mickelson Says:

    I agree that prepackaged produce is not the most efficient way for people who want to purchase smaller quantities. It’s a ridiculous thing. I have the luxury of living in an urban area where my grocery store offers everything without that extra packaging so I can choose what I need. But if I didn’t have that option, I would do what I used to do when we had a Costco membership: take apart the packaging and repack with a split between freezer and refrigerator (some for now, some for later), or put the extra produce into a dish that I could freeze and reheat later. If that didn’t work, I would share extra with my son, whose budget is always tight. Another option: the local food shelf. Your assessment about America – buy more more more – is absolutely true.

    • I need to follow your advice and that of other readers to freeze or share if I can’t use everything. That will require some research on what can and can’t be frozen. I don’t think our local food shelf accepts individual donations of fresh foods.

      Sort of related: Several years ago I contacted headquarters for a local convenience store about all the bananas I saw in the dumpster. The ripe fruit could have been used for banana bread or other recipes that call for ripe bananas. I was thinking food shelf donation. I was told that couldn’t be done. What a waste.

  10. Chuck Says:

    Plus they keep reducing the size of the package and increasing the price. Have you noticed how small all the can goods, ice creams have gotten?

  11. When I lived in a spacious home, the bulk nonperishables were good for financial reasons. Since our storage space with RV living is limited, we can’t do this anymore. We limit our grocery shopping for three days only, and the bulk packaging of vegetables is annoying and buying individually is more costly. A lot of times I end up chopping and freezing or cooking bigger portions than we need (soups, etc) and freezing. I just wish the prices were comparable when buying individual fruits and vegetables (and toilet paper, paper towels, and cleaning supplies).

  12. Brenda Boone Says:

    Hi Audrey, I just wanted to share with you an additional option for saving money that could help. I brought Fare For All to Faribault last month and the sole purpose of it is to make meat and produce more affordable to fit in more budgets. I don’t know if you use Facebook, but I invite you to take a look at my page, Fare For All in Faribault. If you don’t use Facebook, perhaps you can respond to me here and I would be happy to share info with you!

  13. Jackie Says:

    I’m with you Audrey, we just don’t need bulk or multiples in our house anymore.

  14. Neil Says:

    Talk to the manager, not an employee; the employee does not make the purchasing decisions (from the wholesaler). The manager may know about other packaging options available, and might be willing to change in order to better meet the needs of the customers. If nothing else, he/she could explain why they’re now being sold in these multi-packs.

  15. Littlesundog Says:

    I try to freeze what I can’t use, if that’s possible. Like you, I do not like to let anything go to waste. Pre-packaged apples are my biggest pet peeve. I like to pick out my own fruit, and almost always there is a badly bruised apple or two in the lot.

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