Pre-Packaged Produce: Fresh Foods Get a "Bad Wrap" for Sustainability

Rochelle spends as much time in the kitchen as she does at a keyboard. It's no surprise that cooking and food are favorite article subjects.

Something Has Changed in the Produce Aisles

Visiting a supermarket where I used to shop frequently, I was surprised to find that most of the fresh produce was pre-packaged.

It wasn't that way before.

There I was with my washable, reusable, environmentally friendly grocery bags, and I was picking up things that were encased in plastic, cellophane, styrofoam, and cardboard. Though I wasn’t using the store‘s plastic or paper bags to pack up my groceries, I was going to be taking home a lot of packaging trash.

This Is the Way It Should Look

This is what we want to see

This is what we want to see

As soon as I realized what was happening, I began to put some of my selections back. Then picked a couple of stalks of broccoli that were packaged only in a rubber band. (Even the rubber band wasn't necessary, but at least it was reusable.)

I selected some loose apples, lemons, and oranges. I chose a head of lettuce that did have plastic wrapping, along with a leaf lettuce that merely had a paper and wire wrapping band around it.

Wrapped and ready for you.

Wrapped and ready for you.

Change for the Better?

Some of the store's new displays had been changed around since the last time I visited there. This is not unusual. Supermarkets are always changing things around, but something else seemed amiss.

It is a large store, and I had always liked their selection of fresh fruits and vegetables. The produce was still at the far end of the store, stretching from the back to the front in an area that is about 40 feet wide with refrigerated cases along the walls and bins filling the center section.

Near a back wall were the some fresh, unpackaged vegetables, and I noticed that the long sidewall that stretched from the back to the front of the store also had vegetables and fruits, but most of them were packed in plastic in bags, plastic clamshells, and other unrecyclable containers.

There were containers of cut-up and peeled fruits, bagged salad greens, packaged mixed cut-up vegetables, and a large array of natural fruit and vegetable juices in plastic bottles in the cases.

There are also a lot of complete salads and ready-to-eat meal components.

In the bins, there were also packaged fruits and vegetables and a few loose things, like apples and oranges and onions, but as I checked around it looked like about 70% of all of the fresh fruits and vegetables were packaged in some way.

While it makes some sense to pre-package small things like berries and tiny tomatoes in a container, I really like to see the underside of mushrooms.

While it makes some sense to pre-package small things like berries and tiny tomatoes in a container, I really like to see the underside of mushrooms.

Why I Like Fresh and Trashless

  • I like buying fresh vegetables but don't like the fact so many of them now packed in wrapping material that conceals, rather than preserves, the freshness.
  • Using the least processed, least packaged product saves money, even if it costs a little more time.
  • The packaging needs to be thrown away and is not the kind that is easily recyclable.
  • I make most meals with fresh fruits and vegetables. When I'm preparing them, the only thing I usually have to throw away are the peelings in and trimmings. (These go to the chickens and the compost heap.)

When I buy loose unpackaged produce I'm not throwing away cans and jars and boxes, or plastic containers and plastic bags. When I buy fresh produce I don't even have a lot of recyclable material at the end of a week.

Trash. Given to you free with each purchase.

Trash. Given to you free with each purchase.

Beets and Coconuts

I saw some precooked steamed beets that were sealed inside some tough plastic, then covered with a cardboard sleeve that concealed the product.

At first, I thought it might be a good idea. Beets are a little messy to peel, clean, and cook.

But then I realized that I might as well buy canned beets, if I want something pre-cooked and processed with additives. At least cans are recyclable.

One of the most puzzling things I have seen fresh packaged was a coconut. It was on a styrofoam tray covered with plastic with a little label. What? Don't people know that coconuts come in their own packaging?

Is This Really Necessary?

Good Things for the Consumer

1. Packaging prevents dehydration. It protects crispiness, keeps in fresheness and vitamins. (At least this is what packagers claim.)

2. Packaging keeps food more sanitary. It discourages handling, squeezing and pinching by the customers.

3. Packaged products are time-saving. More people opting for fresh fruits and veggies as snacks. For convenience, small trimmed portions prevent unnecessary food waste.

4. Kids like them. Kids and adults will eat more fruits and vegetables in lunchboxes if they are cut up and conveniently packaged in single servings.


Bad Things for the Consumer

What are the problems with pre-packaging?

1. Disease Outbreaks: Salmonella, lysteria, and e.Coli outbreaks have been traced to bagged fresh produce, especially spinach and salad greens. Think about the possibility of a tiny bit of contamination from manure or tainted irrigation water that is in a plastic bag being trucked across the desert. A perfect incubator for bacteria.

2. More Unrecyleable Trash: Styrofoam trays are one of the least degradable packaging materials known to man. The plastic, cellophane and saran are not likely to be recycled either.

3. Loss of Nutrients: Precut vegetables and fruits lose vitamins and other nutrients faster than whole products.

4. Expensive: You generally will be paying more, by weight, when you buy packaged produce. A prepared package of cut up fruit, for instance, usually costs at least twice as much as whole fruit you can cut yourself. And if you're buying from a farmer's market, you probably can save 50% more.

5. More Technology Pollution: Manufacturing the plastic packaging materials for these fruits and vegetables to help them maintain their freshness may create more pollution.

6. Spoiled or Overripe: You have to inspect packed produce carefully to make sure it is not spoiled, moldy, or dried up. The refrigerated fruit could be in a "chilled gas chamber." Packaged produce is often a lot older than fresh. Nutrients may be degraded by age of the item from when it was picked.

7. Taste and Smell: Compounds sprayed on produce (chlorine and ozone are two) to retard spoilage may leave unpleasant traces.

8. More Government Laws and Agencies: It takes government entities to make sure that packages are labeled correctly with contents, weight and place of origin. Laws and regulations have to be made to make sure fresh food is properly weighed, cleaned, processed, branded, identified, labeled, packaged, presented, transported, stored, and tested.

Good Things for the Seller

1. Less Waste: The bruised apple, the imperfect potato and the damaged artichoke will no longer be left behind if it is hidden in a bag with other more acceptable pieces.

2. Less spoilage: More "peak ripeness" foods will survive handling and be bought by unsuspecting customers. Packaging helps prevent damage and loss from browsing customers.

3. Fewer employees: There will be fewer produce people trimming lettuce in the back room or pulling out imperfect items from the bins. There will be less cleanup in the store.

4. More Profit, Higher Margins: The packaged items are almost always significantly higher per pound than the unwrapped fruit and vegetables. Less product, more packaging (have to cover that cost), still equals more profit.

This is why pre-packed produce is called a "value added" product. With their colorful labels, they look good and seem easy, which entices the customer. Perfectly cut portions look nice, too. They may even come with printed recipes or a plastic fork.

Bad Things for the Seller

1. Pre-cut vegetables and fruit need to be kept on ice or refrigerated for best quality.

2. Also.....

The point is, there doesn't seem to be many bad things for the seller. It might be bad if people start buying their produce from farm stands or growing their own. These alternatives are not available to everyone.

What does it mean?

Probably we will see almost every fresh product being packaged in the future-- even bananas, pineapple and coconuts.

One head of Romaine lettuce vs. three packaged Romaine hearts.

One head of Romaine lettuce vs. three packaged Romaine hearts.

Lettuce: A Heads-Up Case Study

These are typical prices for comparison. Prices vary with region, season and weather which can affect availability.

Bagged Lettuce Mix Organic: $3.99 for 11 oz. = 36c per oz. I rarely buy bagged mixed salad greens. There are always a few badly wilted (or worse) pieces in the bag. These mixes seem like a great convenience, but they are also one of the items most likely to be contaminated.

Often they contain pieces that have been culled from greens which would not be presentable in whole form. Substandard lettuce heads not packaged in the field are sent to packing plants where they are sprayed with "preserving agents" and cut into pieces for pre-packaged sale.

Some people think that the plastic bag encourages growth of any bacteria which may be present, especially if there has been a lapse in refrigeration during transportation of storage. By weight, bagged salad can easily cost 73% more.

Romaine Hearts: $ 2.99 for 18 oz =17c per oz. Tops of the "hearts" were a little wilted, not really crisp. Though the package is dated with a "best by date" that still had time remaining, it seemed that the lettuce hearts may have been culled from bunches that had possibly become wilted on the outer leaves.

The bag recommended washing before use, so little work was saved for the consumer. The bottoms of the stem ends were "rustier" than the unbagged bunch of lettuce, indicating an older age.

Leaf Romaine Lettuce: $1.29 for 20 oz. = 6.5c per oz. Though some of the outer leaves needed to be discarded (given to chickens), the lettuce was crisp and there was considerably more green leaf in the total content.
Retailers may be paying for a 45-lb. box of untrimmed iceberg lettuce and have to trim 10 pounds off even though they’re still paying for it to be shipped. They pay for labor and disposal of the bad lettuce. Obviously they would rather sell the bagged salads.


This Has Already Happened With "Fresh" Meat.

In the "olden days" patrons told the meat cutter how much of what kind they wanted and and it was custom cut, or customers pointed out their choices from the refrigerated case. The meat man weighed it and wrapped it in paper.

Now most supermarket meats are pre-cut and prepackaged in refrigerated for the "convenience of the customer". More and more of it of it is even pre-seasoned and/or precooked.

Some of it is even sealed into unrecyclable cryovac packages along with tenderizers, preservatives and other artificial ingredients. We are seeing less and less fresh cut meat that has not be tampered with.

When this first started with fresh meat we probably didn't realize that the beef, pork chicken and other protein may have been cut up days ago. Perhaps, even more to the point, we didn't realize how much saran, cardboard, plastic and styrofoam trash it would add to our landfills.

Now it looks like produce may be going in the same direction.

Hope for Local and Home Farmers

What else can we do?

Shop at your local farmer’s market. for fresh and healthy food. Farmers might sell “cosmetically challenged” produce at a discounted rate. You can often find real bargains that taste better than you would expect.

Buy direct. If you are close to farms or sources of food, it is cheaper. Visit localharvest.org to connect to farmers and other food producers in your area.

I hope our fruit trees do well this year, and I'm planning to give the vegetable garden a little extra attention.

I really want to eat more fresh food—more real food—without bringing home all the the trash, litter, and other problems that may be lurking.

Questions & Answers

Question: Do you need to wash bagged vegetables (ex. Broccoli) ? Are there pesticides in bagged vegetables?

Answer: Most packaged produce has instructions that recommend washing the product. Since it is not required that they disclose the fact of pesticides being used, there is no way to know for sure. Broccoli is one crop which usually has been grown without pesticides.


Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on January 16, 2016:

Thanks for your comment. I'm sure that products which are kept under refrigeration are safer.

Michael on January 15, 2016:

Your first comment on the "Bad things for consumers" is a bit off. Those outbreaks from bagged spinach are, if anything, helped by the bags keeping them isolated and not expanding beyond the bags. Had they been on loose bunches, everything they touched would be infected. And while they are "trucked across the desert" - nice job implying the bagged spinach somehow travels further and on more heated routes than if they hadn't been packaged- they are done so in a temp controlled reefer unit which runs constantly and most retailers have very strict temp ranges they allow before rejecting the product at the warehouse, even if a degree or two outside the window. Oh, and the 2011 cantaloupe lysteria outbreaks had nothing to do with packaging.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on March 24, 2015:

I'm glad to hear that you have found a source for fresh produce, I think it is worth looking for. Thank you for your nice comment, DebMartin.

DebMartin on March 24, 2015:

I'm eager for the farm markets here in N. Michigan to open up again. Buying fruits and veggies will get easier. But I have discovered with a little bit of research, I can get fresh, unwrapped veggies even in the winter. Fortunately there are a group of growers in my area committed to making the farmer's market a year-round event. Fruits? I get them in season from the local farmer and food dryer is working overtime. This is really a well presented lens. Thanks.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on February 05, 2015:

Yes, a touch of the real thing can tell you a lot. Thanks for commenting, peachpurple.

peachy from Home Sweet Home on February 03, 2015:

most shopping malls provide fresh food with plastic wraps to avoid bacteria. I prefer to buy at wet market, i can choose and press them

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on October 02, 2014:

Thanks, swilliams. Fresh foods are great, but I'm a bit suspicious of over-packaged ones.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on October 02, 2014:

Good solution.... especially if you have access to one. Having your own veg garden is also great, though seasonal.

swilliams on October 02, 2014:

Great pictures! I truly enjoyed this Hub as I a m looking to change my eating habits. Helpful info as well! Voted up and tweeted out!

Elisabeth Ellis from Nashville, TN. on October 02, 2014:

Two words: Farmer's market.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on September 01, 2014:

Discretion must be applied. If I feel the need to buy something in a package, I examine it carefully. Thanks for commenting. emufarm.

emufarm from Iowa on September 01, 2014:

Wow, I never really thought about this issue before. We usually buy vegetables from farm stands when they are available, and when I do end up with bags, I save them for packing materials, as me and my husband are still moving around quite a bit. But in the winter we definitely end up with a lot more packaged produce. I will try to stick to picking the less packaged items!

Thanks for writing about this!

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on April 18, 2014:

Thank you, rajan jolly. I enjoy my vegetable garden during the summer and fall months.

I hope the tradition of farmers markets continues to survive and grow in all areas. It is sad that so many people do not have access to gardens or farm fresh produce markets, especially in locales where food can be easily grown.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on April 18, 2014:

Though we do get some packed produce, I prefer to buy it fresh as we have a farmers market held twice a week. It cheaper and much easier to inspect for quality.

Excellent hub.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on June 07, 2013:

You are right, Joanna. Sometimes there is no choice-- and it is getting more and more that way.

All we can do is ask the market managers if unpackaged produce is available, or at least be aware of the possible problems, and buy the "least packaged" possibilities.

Joanna Slodownik from New Jersey on June 07, 2013:

Wow, these are my thoughts exactly. I feel guilty buying all these pre-packaged fruits and vegetables. What's unfortunate, many of them are not available without packaging, so it's either take it or leave it.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on April 29, 2013:

That is interesting to know. I live in a rural area of California-- very near the Central Valley of California which produces a huge portion of our country's fresh fruits and vegetables. We do have access to local farmers markets, but it seems that many people seem to prefer the supermarkets.

I do plant a vegetable garden each year and we have some well- established fruit trees. A lot of our near neighbors do the same.

Thanks for your comments. I enjoy your hubs.

Indian Chef from New Delhi India on April 29, 2013:

Rochelle, This trend has started in India too. But it is only in super markets. I like to buy my fruits and vegetables from vegetable vendor They put their cart at every nook and corner of city and usually have very fresh vegetables and fruits.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on March 16, 2013:

Frozen fruits and vegetables can be a good alternative and, yes, shopping for one or two people can be challenging when you are trying to avoid waste.

Brian Leekley from Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA on March 15, 2013:

Up, Useful, and Interesting. After reading this hub, I'll be less inclined to buy prepackaged produce.

My biggest problem with fresh produce, whether prepackaged or I bag it, is that often there is too much for me to eat before it's no longer fresh or even before it gets rotten. So I stopped buying, for instance, collard greens fresh and instead buy them frozen.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on October 22, 2012:

There are so many reasons for not doing this. The over-packaging just contributes way too much to our trash problems.

Brandi Gregory from Jacksonville, Florida on October 21, 2012:

This was just fabulous! I wish they would leave the fruit and vegetables alone, my goodness... I'm like, "What do we need this extra packaging for?! It's been packaged just nicely by our Creator!" I'm glad I'm not the only one. :)

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on July 05, 2012:

No need to apologize for a good rant. Thanks for commenting.

LetitiaFT from Paris via California on July 04, 2012:

I'm so glad you've drawn attention to this. It's happening here in Paris too. Mainly organic produce! I'm not even sure it really keeps things fresh, I mean, veggies can't breathe for instance. I see all that condensation inside the plastic adding mold to the synthetic crap the plastic is already leeching into our food and it's just disgusting. I agree with going to the farmer's market but it's not always practical. I get so frustrated with the companies that do things like this and then cut down trees to print reports on their responsible governance. It's pathetic. Sorry to rant. You touched on a pet peeve...

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on June 23, 2012:

I don't know if there is any help to resist this trend-- unless, people really start to notice and ask for local natural produce. One of the problems is, so much food is shipped from far-away places which often requires packaging. The transportation and packaging costs add up, helping to make everything more expensive.

Thank you for reading and commenting, joaniebaby.

joaniebaby on June 22, 2012:

Up and interesting. When I read your Hub, Rochelle, I wondered why I didn't think to write such a Hub. Those pre-packaged products just take up more room in the store, and I have enough trouble maneuvering my way through the store now. Help!

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on April 27, 2012:

so the "fresh markets" display the produce raw, uncut and in their unwrapped state?

Kelly Kline Burnett from Fontana, WI on April 27, 2012:

Rochelle Frank,

The fresh markets in Madison are really taking hold. This is great thing to return to the local markets rather than the arms length markets.

Wonderful research and very well written. Voted up!

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on April 05, 2012:

You are right, 2patricias. Choices may be limited, and are getting more limited,for some people.

Produce from locally grown sources is even more desirable. Thank you for reading and commenting.

2patricias from Sussex by the Sea on April 05, 2012:

You have done a great job of putting both sides of the argument for packaged fruit and vegetables.

We are very lucky as there is a weekly farmer's market in our neighouring village. We also live close to two farm shops, and we have a weekly vegetable box scheme. This scheme delivers fresh seasonal vegetables to our houses, with minimal or recyclable packaging. We try our best to support these initiatives.

We do recognise that many people do not have these choices.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on March 23, 2012:

I think it it may be worse on organic produce, because there are certain regulations growing around what can be called "organic"-- which requires labeling or identifying packaging.

Thanks for commenting, Delores.

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on March 10, 2012:

You were right on with this one. What with all the interest and marketing toward the 'green' shoppers, I can't imagine why they are doing this. Where I live, we have a great recycling program, but still...And I see a lot of produce packed in those net bags that wind up floating around in the ocean, killing marine life.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on March 06, 2012:

Yes, we have to do what we can do for ourselves. I don't think it will get better.

iguidenetwork from Austin, TX on March 05, 2012:

Pre-packaging is a very unhealthy idea, but we can't do much about it. You can just safe your end to keep yourself healthy.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on March 01, 2012:

I agree-- it IS a trade off, knowing that the 'loose' items may have been touched by other shoppers and stockers--

- but the packaged stuff has also been touched and handled. I think the plastic packaging gives microscopic entities a better environment for incubation. Being exposed to air eliminates some of the uglies.

Marpi on March 01, 2012:

I avoid buying these prepackaged fruits and vegetables. It's alottery you never know what're getting. I still prefer smelling and touching the veggies and fruits at the local market!

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on February 29, 2012:

Too bad there are not more of us that think that way. Im afraid the concept is going to be the accepted practice very soon.

Thanks for your very nice comments.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on February 29, 2012:

You understand it perfectly. Thank you for the kudos and the share.

Cynthia Calhoun from Western NC on February 29, 2012:

Beautiful, well-organized and expertly formatted hub! I was compelled to read to the end, especially because I hate pre-packaged, processed foods. Well-done!

Brett C from Asia on February 28, 2012:

You are right, it just doesn't make sense. Especially as often the food still needs to be washed, so what the hell is the plastic for!? It is not people destroying the planet, it is commercial business!

Socially sharing, up and interesting.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on February 18, 2012:

Thank you, Sally's. I wish we had a produce store around here-- I'll just have to wait for farmers market season and my garden.

Actually, our closest supermarket (we only have two-- and one isn't up to snuff) hasn't gone completely to the dark side, and it isn't a chain, so the manager is more responsive to his customers.

Sherri from Southeastern Pennsylvania on February 18, 2012:

Great in-depth look into how the fresh-food industry is using packaging to wring every penny it can out of consumers' pockets. The information you presented here can help us all make smart health and money choices.

Wrapped coconut? I've never seen that. That's totally crazy.

I'm lucky to have access to farm markets for seasonal produce and specialty bulk produce markets for the rest of the year. I stopped buying produce at my local supermarket chain store a long time ago, mostly because of the expense, but also because of the emphasis on pre-packaged produce.

A friend of mine asked the other day if she should buy a package of "soup vegetables" to make a chicken soup recipe she wanted to try. I asked, what's in the package? There was a stalk of celery cut in half, two carrots, a parsnip, a half an onion, and a token snip of parsley... for 2.39 USD. The supermarket makes a killing on this kind of marketing, preying on the psychology of the consumer (Why should I buy a pound of carrots, a bunch of parsnips, celery, and parsley, and an onion for 4 USD when I can get what I need for the soup for 2.39?).

Voted up, useful, and why isn't "important" a choice?

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on February 17, 2012:

I agree that backyard veggies are the best. No matter where they come from, they need to be examined and well rinsed. A lot of people like to rinse lettuce in water spiked with apple cider vinegar.

When I rinse lettuce, from wherever, I like to find a live insect-- it indicates that pesticides have not been too strong.

On the other hand when I see a stock boy politely covering a sneeze with his hand--before proceeding to to stack apples in the display-- welll, ugh.

There's a fine line between being so clean that we lose all immunity, and slipping into the danger zone.

I think we have to use what sense we have-- be careful, but don't stop eating vegetables. Thanks for commenting, Billrrrr.

Bill Russo from Cape Cod on February 17, 2012:

Rochelle, I am a little frightened now. I love buying the prebagged and shredded lettuce. After reading your presentation, I am compelled to go back to buying it by the head, I have been getting the pre packed produce because I don't like the idea of purchasing items that have been handled by others. This is really a hard problem for me. My only solution lies in the Summer sun when I get my own backyard vegetables. They are the best.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on February 17, 2012:

Thanks so much for the compliments, Shadesbreath. I'm really happy that you found it readable, even though you were not really interested in the subject matter. That's high praise.

Not sure, though, about the "equanimity". I did try to give some of the potential positives, but I think it was pretty clear which side I favored.

As an old newspaper writer, I guess I couldn't just go all one-sided.

Shadesbreath from California on February 13, 2012:

A rock solid examination of this topic, Rochelle. And I think you are right, vegetables are getting a very bad [cough] wrap [cough]. (Yes, I laughed). To be honest, I came because I was curious, saw what the actual topic was about and, not being the shopper or the environmentally involved kind of person, figured I'd just skim. But you've written it so well, and covered the ups and downs with such equanimity, that, well, there I was at the end of the article having read every word and feeling content with having acquired a better grip on something I didn't think I wanted a better grip on until having read your fine hub. So thanks. :)

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on February 12, 2012:

Thanks for commenting, robie2. The packaging trend seems to happen gradually-- look for it soon at a store near you.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on February 12, 2012:

Looks like you have it figured out, Healthy Pursuits, I hope we don't come to the point where we don't have a choice.

And with the meat-- I can't believe how much of it is now 'heat and eat' in the supermarket cases. Is cooking really that much of a lost art? Maybe this generation really is for "convenience" and dependence.

Roberta Kyle from Central New Jersey on February 12, 2012:

Totally with you on this one, Rochelle, and share your buying habits. I buy produce and fruit only from local farm markets from April through November-- In winter I usually use frozen veggies and stick to apples, bananas, and grapes for fruit. Had not really noticed this new trend towards packaging produce, but now that you mention it....... great hub. Bookmarking and voting up

Karla Iverson from Oregon on February 12, 2012:

I totally agree with you. The best thing we can do is to refuse to buy that packaged stuff. Unfortunately, too many of us have fallen for the hype of packaged produce.

In the winter, I buy at a local store that doesn't package their produce, and in the summer and fall, I buy at the farmer's market. I decided to increase the size of my garden this year, because I don't like the bacteria that's making its way into our food supply, and I don't want more trash. I also buy meat at a local butcher, who thankfully is still in business.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on February 12, 2012:

DrBJ, In many cases, that is true here.. but I have seen the 'old fashioned' meat counter come back in a few instances. Mostly they show the more expensive cuts in the case, but I have been able to get something custom cut, just by asking. ... and no styro tray!

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on February 12, 2012:

Hi, Cardisa,

I guess it depends on where you are and what is available. Mesh bagged items aren't so bad-- especially if you can use the whole bagful. but sometimes I think it is just a way of getting you to buy more than you normally would.

drbj and sherry from south Florida on February 12, 2012:

I prefer unwrapped produce, too, Rochelle, but it's getting harder and harder to find in the markets. In the case of meat, finding a real butcher in the store is even more difficult. Doesn't anyone study that line of work any more?

Carolee Samuda from Jamaica on February 12, 2012:

Some of the items are better pre-packaged such as broccoli and some other veges. Our market vendors don't really take very good care of some of the vegetables so I buy the better quality which is usually pre-packed in a foam plate and plastic wrap or a plastic bag. I like my garlic in the mesh bag too because it's always fresher.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on February 12, 2012:

Keep your eyes open-- it creeps up on you so you hardly notice, like a lot of other things in this country. I'm seeing some packaged produce in the local independent market where I do most of my shopping, but it's not too bad yet. I was really surprised at the chain supermarket in the somewhat bigger town, It's about the profit, not the customer, but they are doing their best to convince us that it's what we want.

Tony Lawrence from SE MA on February 12, 2012:

That's disgusting. We haven't seen that yet and if we do, we'll be complaining loudly.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on February 11, 2012:

Thank you Indanila-- may the farmer's markets live long and prosper.

Rochelle Frank (author) from California Gold Country on February 11, 2012:

Peggy-- I'm afraid it's coming to a store near all of us very soon. As long as it is practical and profitable for the stores, I can't see anything that will stop it.

Very sad.

I appreciate your comment.

Inda Blackwell from Hampton Roads on February 11, 2012:

Great topic!! Although prepackaged veggies and fruit are convenient, I agree they can be a harbor for disease. I prefer fresh unpackaged fruit and veggies for sure. Very informative hub for the public!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on February 11, 2012:

I'm in your corner 100% on this one, Rochelle. Fortunately there are still many grocery stores in our area where we can choose individual pieces of fruit and vegetables. We recently discovered one that features many Oriental products and many veggies of which I am unfamiliar. I am purchasing some of them and having fun experimenting with them.

That is not to say that everything comes that way. Hopefully this trend will not become widespread. Up and useful votes!

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