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Do you prefer your produce pre-wrapped or not?

I've been thinking about produce at the supermarket. I avoid one of the main supermarkets near me because most of their fresh vegetables is pre-wrapped. I think it is wasteful to encase a head of broccoli in plastic, and I don't like it when smaller items are pre-packaged because the amounts never seem to be what I want.

What do you prefer? Why?

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  1. I won't buy pre-grouped produce, like the four peppers on a foam tray that my local supermarket stocks. But then, I'm the sort of person who selects each cherry or piece of okra individually. Wrapping a head of broccoli in plastic wouldn't keep me from buying it, but I agree that it is wasteful.

    1. I'd never trust a store that pre-wraps their produce. What are they hiding?

      1. I don't even use the provided produce bags for unwrapped stuff. I don't buy pre-wrapped stuff.

        1. Absolutely not. Besides being wasteful, I want to inspect produce before purchasing it.

          1. The only pre packed items i buy are because I think it would be too difficult or injure the produce if they weren`t packed. Two examples: small berries (blue,rasp,black,straw ect) and things like grape tomatoes. Oh and baby carrots. Also celery hearts which I see no reason to be pre packed.

            1. Unless I'm buying my produce @ Costco, I prefer to pick my own produce.....the exceptions are for:

              Lettuce(Romaine Packs
              Campari/Grape Tomatoes
              'Brussel Sprouts

              3 Replies
              1. re: fourunder

                Brussel Sprouts don't seem to belong here. I like to inspect mine individually.....

                1. re: janetofreno

                  Unfortunately, that is not always an option.....i.e. for Brussel Sprouts.

                  1. re: fourunder

                    brussel sprouts are always unwrapped at the stores where I shop.

              2. It's about presentation, convenience and sanitation. I don't think of it as being wasteful, since it's usually wrapped up by the consumer. I'd buy it if it's the only option available (they don't have it unwrapped). Otherwise, pass. It's just harder to inspect it through the wrapping and stuff.

                1. I do agree that things like berries, cherry tomatoes, etc are reasonable to be wrapped.

                  1. Trader Joe's does this with a lot of their produce, which is why I usually drive across the parking lot to finish my shopping at Whole Foods, after I've bought all the good cheap stuff at TJ's. I just prefer to inspect all surfaces of the produce, when possible. As others have said, stuff like cherry tomatoes and grapes in bags are fine, but if it can reasonably sold individually, that's how I prefer to buy it.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Isolda

                      I believe TJ's does that so they can price everything per unit instead of slowing the checkers down having to weigh things and input codes. It is also why I tend not to buy produce at TJ's.

                    2. If the only option is 4 peppers wrapped in a tray, and if I truly only want/need 1-2, I don't hesitate to rip open the plastic & buy just the quantity I want. That way I can also reject the remainder if they're bruised, wrinkly, whatever. Have never been questioned or reprimanded for it for over 30 years.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: pine time

                        So if the produce is priced by the package and not by weight you are paying for the produce you leave in the store anyway. The produce at Aldi is also priced by the package and not by weight. That is why I buy bananas elsewhere, they all ripen at the same time and I seem to be the only person in our household that eats bananas these days.

                        1. re: John E.

                          Maybe it's the difference in store policies, but if the whole package of 4 whatevers is $1, I've been charged 50cents for 2. Never had it questioned before.

                      2. Ah. This is a difficult one.

                        In the ordinary course of affairs, I'd say I want loose produce, so I can inspect and select the individual items.

                        However, my usual supermarket pre-wraps organic produce saying this is the only way they can guarantee non-organic items don't get mixed in accidentally by, say, other customers.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: Harters

                          Yeah, because plastic is organic.

                          1. re: kpaxonite

                            but it's a valid point -- do you have a better suggestion? I sure don't.

                        2. I hate pre-wrapped produce, and let me also take this opportunity to say how much I despise those little stickers on fruit.

                          Remember when fruit just came in its own skin? Those were the days. (Now I know I'm getting old.)

                          1. Since I don't eat berries or raw tomamtoes (which I belive should be packaged, I want my produce loose. I am tired of picking up bags of grapes or cherries and finding that the smallest bag weighs 4 lbs. I shop every other day and want fresh produce. When I want one pound of grapes, that's all I want. I am not bashfull, I open the bags, remove the overweight (placing into a plastic bag from the roll) and leave it on the counter.

                            Similarly, I want a head of Romaine, not a three pack in a polybag.

                            1 Reply
                            1. At a farmer's market stand in Paris, the produce is not prepackaged BUT they will yell at you (and glare like they want to slap you) if you dare to pick up the produce you want to buy. They insist on handling the produce for you. Not much fun!

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: walker

                                Trust the vendors in the markets in France, implicitly. They will pick out good items for you -- and nowhere else on earth can you go in and buy 2 cantaloupe, telling them "I want one for lunch today, and one for dinner tomorrow" -- and they'll hand you 2 melons that will be *perfect* when you eat them. (they mark them with a sticker or break the stem off of today's or similar)

                                I have never, ever been disappointed with anything that my vendors have picked out for me at the market. (the only exception is sweet corn, which the French do not typically eat, so they let me open the ears to see if they're fresh on the rare occasion they have them.)

                                1. re: sunshine842

                                  not always. At the nicer markets they usually do, the farmers at the markets certainly do, but the crap market by my apartment is a whole other game.

                                  1. re: kerosundae

                                    then you've stumbled across the exception to the rule. I'd find another market.

                                2. re: walker

                                  Maybe not much fun, but at least no bruises on the fruit caused by shoppers grabbing and testing ripeness for themselves.

                                3. I will rarely buy pre wrapped produce ( with the obvious exception of things like grapes. Most fruits and vegetables are not meant to be pre-wrapped.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: BlueMagic

                                    curious as to why you think grapes are obvious? At my supermarket, they are generally wrapped in plastic with holes in it, but at the farmer's market they aren't wrapped at all, and I love picking out exactly the ones I want....no, I don't pick individual grapes off of a bunch, but some bunches do look better than others...plus I can get exactly the amount I want that way.

                                    1. re: susancinsf

                                      I dislike most things wrapped, but am fine with the grapes. So many grapes would be wasted if they were left loose that it would a) be a horrible waste of good food and b) raise the already high price of grapes to cover the waste.

                                      1. re: CanadaGirl

                                        It would be interesting to know if the margin on the savings (from avoiding waste from grapes falling off of the bunch) is greater than the savings from not having to use plastic to wrap them, taking into account the costs of labor to wrap and to society of using the plastic...

                                  2. I prefer not to buy things pre-packaged, but realize some items need to be (depending on the retailer). I prefer to choose my own quality/quantity but that's not always possible, b/c my work schedule determines where I shop. I'm lucky to have several options for produce nearby, but time and purpose is always the deciding factor.

                                    My produce buying usually starts with my local farmer's market, whenever I am able to get there (Saturday morning). Next, time permitting, is a small chain market (Piazza's-very high quality product in every category) near the farmer's market, both of which are not in my immediate neighborhood. Then I hit Safeway, literally a block from my home. Sometimes Safeway comes first, if I can't get to the farmer's market.

                                    My last 2 options are Trader Joe's, which I wouldn't go to for just one or two items (it's not in immediate neighborhood), and another small chain market (Draegars, ditto), which also has very high quality (and is the priciest of course). I find that TJ, while prepacking for ease of checkout, usually has more product in their packages than I might buy, but I can live with that as I can find ways to use the extra product. Costco, while down the street from me, is only visited twice a year, at best, when I'm stocking up on bulk purchases (paper goods, etc). I might buy produce there, depending on the timing of the visit and my anticipated needs. Target is almost as close, but it's not ever considered for produce.

                                    1. I don't buy pre-wrapped. It seems like the stuff packaged in bulk is always rotting or bruised.