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Food packaging that you love/hate?

Here are a few of mine. Feel free to tell us yours.


Food/liquids in glass jars/bottles. They seem to last longer and retain their flavor. I love to recycle the glass containers too.

Baskets and cardboard caddies from farmers’ markets. These also get recycled.


Plastic containers for prepared foods and liquids. Don’t want the plastic leaching into the food. I once bought a jug of apple juice that tasted like the plastic jug. Aggravating.

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  1. Love tubes of tomato pastes, makes it so easy to always have some on hand and add as much or little as needed.

    8 Replies
    1. re: cheesymama

      Yes! Since most of the time I only want about a tablespoon of tomato paste, these things are a godsend!

      1. re: twyst

        I've never been able to find this. What stores carry tomato paste in a tube? I need to look because I agree, it can be a waste!

        1. re: SweetHomeBama

          You should be able to find it at most markets in two places. The pasta/tomato sauce aisle shelf-stable tube or the produce section by the herbs and dressings.

          1. re: HillJ

            Ours are in the specialty section with other Italian stuff, not with the regular canned/shelf stable tomatoes.

            1. re: SweetHomeBama

              Trader Joe's sells it. I also found it at Cost Plus World Market this weekend, but it's much cheaper at Trader Joe's.

              1. re: juliejulez

                Whole Foods also has it under their house brand.

              2. re: SweetHomeBama

                I've found it at regular grocery stores not with the tomato products (canned), but underneath the spices. The brand I get, and see most often, is Amoré.

          2. Don't know if I'd use the word hate, but one thing that bugs me is cauliflower packaging - where I shop, all I can get (when buying a whole head) is cauliflower that is wrapped in plastic and then is sealed with clear plastic tape.
            I probably have about a fifty percent success rate at being able to get the tape off and still be able to store any unused portion of the head in it's original packaging.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Bryan Pepperseed

              i usually use the cauliflower in one go, so reuse is less of an issue; however, i hate that tape... damn near impossible to get open. in my younger, more persnickety and stubborner days, i would fight to be able to tear it open. now i get the scissors. and at first snip, my dog comes running into the kitchen, and sits right next to me... ready and waiting to accept his portion: the green crunchy leaves that i discard. i'm a "stalk girl," so he doesn't get that. however, while he happily chomps down the crunchy portions, any flaccid leaf, unaccompanied by a firmer stalk, he mulls around in his mouth then spit it out, oh so melodramatically, flinging it out of his mouth, merely by flapping his tongue around. and when the cauliflower is in to cook, and there's no more leaves left for him, i have to show him the empty bag, because apparently, i am not a trustworthy source.
              sorry for the tangent... the takeaway: i don't particularly like cauliflower packaging. :)

              1. re: Emme

                I know what you mean - lately it's been taking me less and less time before I reach for the scissors.

                1. re: Emme

                  Ha! Thank you for the dog story, Emme. I miss mine so much! His favorite words in the whole world were, "Basil, dropped one!" Anyone uttering these words would immediately hear a cartoon-like leg-scrambling from wherever he happened to be lounging.

                  1. re: sandylc

                    the best kitchen floor cleaner-uppers: first squad.

                2. re: Bryan Pepperseed

                  That seems so silly and unnecessary! I love food that is just sold as-is...like large, whole pieces of fruit. The fruit's skin is its own packaging...although that leads to another critique of "packaging", the waxy coating put on some fruits, like those awful mass-produced apples shipped around the country from the Pacific Northwest.

                3. Hate: Iceberg lettuce packaging - impossible to open and retain the package. Adhesive closings on fresh bread - same reason. Plastic bag on bread - it ruins the crust. I do love the tubes of tomato paste.

                  1. Although most companies made the switch a while back, I still am appreciative of the screw top on my half and half container! Too many bleary-eyed mornings in the past having to cleanup due to the carton seeping liquid when I gave it a gentle shake.

                    I am a collector of those big fat rubber bands used for broccoli! They are super strong and last much longer than the brittle material used for some other rubber bands.

                    I dislike bread bags sealed with tape, much prefer a wire twistie or plastic clip.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: meatn3

                      That tape on a loaf of sliced bread is impossible to seperate........ ugh!


                    2. Hate: spice packets, especially the McCormick line with several little bubble-packed spices for a particular dish.
                      -individual foil-wrapped potatoes "ready to bake". Yes, I have seen these for sale, at roughly the price of a 10-lb sack of potatoes per.

                      26 Replies
                      1. re: tardigrade

                        Now that you say that, there is on produce market in my town and they individually wrap a lot of their stuff in plastic. I never buy there.

                        1. re: tardigrade

                          "Hate: spice packets, especially the McCormick line with several little bubble-packed spices for a particular dish "

                          What does something like this come with?

                          1. re: MGZ



                            Recipe inspirations Premeasured spices and recipe card.

                            Usually found in the spice aisle next to jars.

                            Oddly, this was given "Product of the Year" award by some consumer survey of Product Innovation.

                            1. re: iluvcookies

                              It made me sad to know such things exist.

                              1. re: MGZ

                                I don't get it either, but another poster on an old thread mentioned s/he uses them at a vacation home in lieu of toting along a bunch of spices.

                                1. re: iluvcookies

                                  that's why I have a set of mini spice bottles I tote along on trips. :)

                                  1. re: jujuthomas

                                    HA! I see another thread here... what spices do YOU take on vacation?
                                    Or: What vacation spots are closest to a Penzey's store?

                                    1. re: iluvcookies

                                      Given the prevailing economic climate for the past 5 years, and the fact that the double dip has already started, perhaps the question should be: "Do you still go on vacations?"

                                      1. re: MGZ

                                        Yah, or "What spices do you take instead of vacations?"

                                      2. re: iluvcookies

                                        We rent a condo in Hawai'i once a year: I take small plastic bottles of sugar (about 1/3 cup), salt (about 1/4 cup), black pepper, crushed red pepper, tarragon and oregano (about 2 TBSPs each), and buy garlic, onions and ginger there.

                                        1. re: iluvcookies

                                          LOL!!! :)

                                          yeah, no Penzey's in St. Lucia so gotta pack our own.
                                          This year one bottle will be filled with penzey's turkish seasoning, for sure. we use that on everything lately! Garlic, pepper, salt, adobo, thyme will fill the others.

                                        2. re: jujuthomas

                                          Someone on my Pinterest feed just linked a picture of someone using Tic-Tac containers as Mini Spice Jars for vacations / camping. Assuming you like Tic-Tacs, that's sort of ingenious.

                                        3. re: MGZ

                                          I actually bought one of those Recipe Inspirations several months ago :( My store was completely out of crushed red pepper flakes (ugh), and I noticed there was a bubble full of them in one of these things. It was for some mexican casserole. My husband saw the offending package laying on the counter and seemed pretty alarmed that I might be making that for dinner, hehe...

                                          1. re: alliegator

                                            In my markets, the Mexican food section has a plethora of much less expensive spices there. I've learned a bunch of Spanish names for things, and the quality has been quite good.

                                            1. re: pine time

                                              That's a great idea that'll probably work for me in the future! At the time, I was at SuperTarget, though :/

                                            1. re: Isolda

                                              If you focus on cost per oz of spice, yes it is a bad value. But that isn't the selling point of the spice sets. And if you already have all these herbs and the recipe, the product isn't aimed at you.

                                              It's a bit like complaining about the cost of Kleenex pocket packs when you could get a dozen rolls of TP for much less.

                                              1. re: paulj

                                                I wasn't complaining, merely shocked, but I guess if you only use chipotle powder for one recipe, you may not want to buy a whole container of it. Oh, and I do buy those expensive kleenex pocket packs, as they fit in my kids' pockets and stay cleaner than just grabbing a wad of tissues from the more economical large boxes we use at home.

                                                I also don't hesitate to buy a whole jar or packet of an unfamiliar spice. I might love it and find many uses for it, but if I hate it, well, the experience of trying something new is pretty cheap, comparatively speaking.

                                        4. re: tardigrade

                                          Do you hate using the spice packets, or just seeing them on the shelf? In other words, Do you use them, but the find the packaging awkward, or are you just offended by the concept?

                                          1. re: paulj

                                            The concept: you end up paying a lot for of salt with a few common spices added,

                                              1. re: MGZ

                                                You are already hooked on spices, and may even be a dealer. These spice packets are entry level spices, meant to entice the newcomer.

                                                On second thought, you can't be a dealer. Not enough marketing imagination. :)

                                            1. re: tardigrade

                                              re the spice packets, here's how i look at it:
                                              would i use them? no. i don't need them personally.
                                              would others using them encourage them to cook more often, and to cook more whole-food based meals, thereby increasing their (and/or their family's) intake of nutrients and decreasing drive-through meals? i certainly hope so. for those who have very little culinary knowledge and sense, little time to cook, and zero interest in learning the nuances of the kitchen, this product lowers the intimidation factor of getting in the kitchen. it makes it one step easier for these people to get into the kitchen and make meals. they might never otherwise try particular spices and dishes. they probably don't buy certain spices, wondering "what the heck would i do with that anyway? i don't have time for that." they might also prove to be an unforeseen gateway into more cooking... "wow, i didn't realized cooking was so easy" or "this is actually enjoyable for me." just saying, i don't like them for me, but the potential they hold for others... well, i recognize that.

                                              now the potatoes... seriously? talk about marketing.

                                              1. re: tardigrade

                                                McCormick's are experts at selling minute quantities of spices at incredibly high prices. Those packs just naturally fit into their line.

                                              2. "Resealable" product bags (snacks, frozen foods, cat litter, you name it) with "ziplocks" that won't re-zip. Grr.

                                                11 Replies
                                                  1. re: DuchessNukem

                                                    And too often, whomever opens the package for the first time in my household cuts it so you can't reseal even if the ziplock worked perfectly.

                                                    1. re: tcamp

                                                      Oh, tcamp, may I print your response, frame it, and hang it in a prominent spot in my kitchen? Mr. Pine, brilliant engineer, cannot seem to open those packages properly.

                                                      1. re: pine time

                                                        I buy the store brand cheddar in blocks (we have kids; can't afford the chesire or vlaskaas for daily use) and the reseal is on the LONG side of the cheese. Who cuts the cheese, excuse the phrase, on the long side? Blocks of cream cheese also open on the long side.

                                                        1. re: Michelly

                                                          Hrm. The cheese packaging makes sense to me. I guess not if you don't remove the cheese from the package to use, but I do, and it would be harder to slide the tacky cheese back in through the small end, since it kind of sticks to the plastic.

                                                          1. re: juster

                                                            But then that exposes more of the cheese's surface area to air and possible drying or increase of mold.

                                                    2. re: DuchessNukem

                                                      I have a particular problem with sugar sold in resealable bags. Often when you buy them, the ziplock isn't closed, so when you tear off the top of the bag there are lots of sugar grains that have lodged in the "zipper" sections as the bags have been moved around, making it impossible to seal them. Trader Joe's organic sugars are a frequent culprit. I just had to transfer all the brown sugar to a Tupperware container because there was so much sugar stuck in the closure it couldn't be used.

                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                        I'm a fan of the sugar cartons, like milk cartons. They cost more, so I bought one and refill it. One that gets me is the coffee creamer bottles with the foil tab. Wo can get enough of a grip on that thing to pull it off? I end up using my teeth. Some of the brands have a plastic pull-ring, which is great.

                                                        1. re: juster

                                                          Oh my gosh!!! This is the reason I came to this web site......I CAN'T STAND THOSE FOIL LIDS........seems only the cheaper brands use those. UGH!!

                                                      2. re: DuchessNukem

                                                        I hate these for a different reason. I often can't get a grip on them to open them the first time. I don't know if my grip is leaving me at my advanced age, or if my hands are always too slippery. Man, I hate those things. I cut open most packages. If the pack is a ziplock, I am careful to cut above the ziplock. Often, though I haven't cut far enough down, so I end up recutting. When I get to the ziplock then it takes fingers of steel to open the zip.

                                                        1. re: DuchessNukem

                                                          This one puzzles me every time. We buy the Trident "Ultimate Fish Sticks" from Costco. They come in a resealable ziplock type bag. There is a perforated strip at the top of the bag that tears off, BUT the bag is heat sealed closed between the perforated strip and the ziplock strip, so once you tear off the strip, you still have to cut the sealed piece off with scissors to open the bag.

                                                        2. prepackaged produce for things that are not easily squish-able. at my mother's grocery store it's almost impossible to find a veggie that is not placed on a styrafoam tray and then plastic wrapped.

                                                          1. Cold cuts that are sealed in a plastic container so that you have to take a knife or scissors to it.

                                                            1. Syrofoam versus cardboard egg containers. Can't recycle, not as good for seed starters. Some farmers at my market will take the syro ones to reuse, but note that they don't last as long before breaking.

                                                              1. I've always gotten a kick out of the Pringles container...;-)

                                                                        1. re: shaebones

                                                                          Just had a thought... wouldn't be great if goat cheese was sold in a tube with a turn/wheel like deodorant. Then you could just twist up the amount you want and slice. It would introduce more packaging, but would definitely save me from wasting as much cheese.

                                                                          1. re: mpjmph

                                                                            Backpackers have been buying reusable squeeze tubes for years.


                                                                            Though goat cheese might be a bit too stiff to work in these.

                                                                        2. Crystal Lite pkgs for two quart serving. Used to be in little plastic tub w/tear off foil top, now they are in foil type tubes that say "tear here". HA, as if.

                                                                          untearable, must use scissors.

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                          1. re: laliz

                                                                            Theraflu packets are also like that... the last thing you want when you aren't feeling well is a medicine package that is impossible to open.
                                                                            On a more food-related note, I find it impossible to open granola bar packages lately.... there isn't enough "grip" on the plasti-foil to open without frustration.
                                                                            Also the tall, thin sugar packets at some fancy-pants coffee places.

                                                                            1. re: laliz

                                                                              yes! those little tubs were recycleable, IIRC.

                                                                              1. re: laliz

                                                                                +1! I drink a ton of crystal light and there's just alot of work to get your juice power out.

                                                                              2. I don't want to go on a total rant here, but I don't like packages that say "Peel Here" and the darn thing is sealed up like it's about to be put into a time capsule or something. Cereal manufacturers are making their inner bags way too short. In their attempt to save money, whenever I pour my cereal, spoonfuls wind up at the bottom of the box every single time.

                                                                                I like egg cartons that are recyclable. I like the Nabisco line of resealable packages.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: Cheese Boy

                                                                                  Yes re: non-peelable peel packaging. Either my rheumatoid arthritis is getting worse, or the packaging is getting worse.

                                                                                2. I love the Trader Joe's mini cubes of frozen herbs. A couple of mini ice cubes of frozen basil always makes me happy.

                                                                                  I hate bagged lettuce that comes in largely opaque bags. How can I tell if it's still good?

                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: wandajune6

                                                                                    +1 on the TJ's frozen herbs. I always keep the basil and cilantro in the freezer for back-up in case I need a bit and don't have fresh bunches. Great packaging!

                                                                                    1. re: wandajune6

                                                                                      oh those wonderful little cubes! love 'em. :)

                                                                                      1. re: wandajune6

                                                                                        Huh, I've never seen the mini cubes. Will definitely look for those next trip.

                                                                                      2. For a while, sun chips were packaged in these horribly loud compostable bags. I think after many complaints, they either switched back to the original (non-compostable) bags or came up with a new design for the loud ones, but those compostable ones were ridiculously loud and crackly. That bag design lasted only for a year or two.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: calmossimo

                                                                                          "WHAAAAT? I'm sorry I can't hear you over this sun chips bag!"
                                                                                          True story.

                                                                                        2. I really dislike wasteful overpackaging. You know, like the dozen cookies that are sold in a box that contains a plastic tray that is wrapped in plastic. It's just more trash to be disposed of and take up landfill space.

                                                                                          I understand why people like the plastic caps on milk and juice cartons, but when they're there I have to toss the carton in the trash, whereas I can put plain cardboard milk cartons in the food scrap/compost bin that my city collects alongside the trash.

                                                                                          18 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                            So what is the purpose of the plastic tray? Is it wasteful from the baker's viewpoint?

                                                                                            1. re: paulj

                                                                                              exactly my reaction... you don't need both if you don't mind (a) cookie crumbs, (b) stale cookies, or (c) both a and b.

                                                                                              and re the milk, why can't you recycle the plastic?

                                                                                              1. re: Emme

                                                                                                I was referring to milk and juice in cardboard cartons with the plastic screw cap on the side. The cap makes it easier to open and pour, maybe helps with fridge life, etc. But you can't recycle a milk carton with a plastic cap or compost it. I don't hate them, but the more I can put in the city-collected compost bin, the better.

                                                                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                  that's crazy that you can't recycle it... :(

                                                                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                    Can't you just pull out the plastic bit and recycle each part separately? It's not welded in.

                                                                                                    1. re: 512window

                                                                                                      Waxed cardboard is not recyclable.

                                                                                                      1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                        I almost hate to say this, but I don't think it's compostable either. Maybe if one were to shred it...

                                                                                                        1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                          Guess it depends on where you live - Where my mom lives in NJ, waxed milk and juice containers are to be included with the "recyclable items" and not in the "trash". - plastic spouts (if any) are to be removed and put in the trash.

                                                                                                          1. re: Bryan Pepperseed

                                                                                                            Waxed cardboard is not recyclable. It will be removed manually from the single cycle waste stream on a conveyor and sent to a landfill. I am very familiar with the paper grades that paper mills in the US, Mexico, and China will accept for recycling.

                                                                                                            1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                              I suppose the same goes for tetrapacks (such as used for shelf stable soymilk).

                                                                                                              So there's a distinction between what the recycling collector accepts and what mills will take.

                                                                                                              1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                Precisely. Recyclers aim to recycle 97% of their incoming single cycle material - paper, glass, and plastic - but waxy paper doesn't qualify. The mills make a giant soup out of recycled paper grades, and the waxy paper does not break down into reusable fiber. Recyclers pay extra to separate out non-recyclables, and pay again to transport them to a landfill, plus the tipping fees. Some municipalities require recyclers to accept unprofitable materials as part of a broad recycling initiative. Curbside recycling is not profitable as a stand alone, and must be subsidized. Not every community can afford it.

                                                                                                                1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                  In Seattle, we have recycling, yard waste/compost, and garbage pick-up. Cartons and clean coated paper are in the recycling category, including juice boxes and milk cartons. What happens after that, I don't know.

                                                                                                                  1. re: babette feasts

                                                                                                                    Typically, a city provides the pick up and delivery of curbside recyclables to a private facility, and pays a price per ton for all the material delivered. Austin will pay $79 per ton, when its program begins October 1. Then a revenue sharing agreement between the municipality and the recycler returns a high portion of the recycled commodity revenue to the municipality. At the end of the day, it is a subsidized activity for which you pay a tax. 3% of the material goes to the landfill. It's a good thing for those who can afford it. It extends landfill life and provides many other positives.

                                                                                                                2. re: paulj

                                                                                                                  In my city, there's trash, recycling, and yard/kitchen-waste compost pickup. None of these cartons are accepted for recycling, but plain milk cartons and uncoated paper and cardboard used for food (butcher paper, takeout containers, paper plates, pizza boxes, etc.) can go in the commercial compost. They also accept things that are no-nos in home composting, including citrus rinds and meat bones and scraps.

                                                                                                            2. re: Veggo

                                                                                                              It is in some places (and it's not waxed anymore).

                                                                                                          2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                            As others have said, "It depends on where you live." In my area milk, juice, etc. cartons are accepted, in fact required to be recycled. Tetrapacks such as juice boxes as well.

                                                                                                            About the only paper we can't recycle is packaging from frozen foods (per the county, "Most are made with a plastic coating that renders the paper non-recyclable.") and pressed pulp egg cartons. ("The paper cartons have been recycled so many times that their fibers are not large enough to be recycled again.")

                                                                                                              1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                Tetra paks are a billion dollar business, but they are not recyclable. Separating them and transporting them to a specialized facility that could re-process them economically is impossible.

                                                                                                    2. LOVE;
                                                                                                      Containers I will reuse, especially those glass jars that use a standard Mason lid.
                                                                                                      I reuse specialty Tea boxes occasionally as well.

                                                                                                      The Cheez Whiz jar!
                                                                                                      Especially the 2 pound size. Unless I use a LONG handled wooden spoon I can't get the last of the cheese out of the jar without getting cheese on my hand, wrist.. Etc
                                                                                                      I don't buy much Cheez Whiz any more but I used to.

                                                                                                      Containers that are a combination of plastic and cardboard or metal and cardboard.
                                                                                                      Examples; Pringles, Fry's Cocoa, frozen orange juice.

                                                                                                      Over packaging like the Tassimo T-discs.
                                                                                                      Coffee sealed in a pod, then packaged in cardboard boxes, THEN sealed in shiny stiff techno plastic stuff.

                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: Sparklebright

                                                                                                        For those of you who hate over packaged items, there's an online retailer who specializes in such atrocities (though I've gotten a couple of positive replies on the camping foods thread)


                                                                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                                                                          a time and place for everything. Day to day use at home? No. Backpacking, camping, traveling, yes.

                                                                                                      2. Hate: Store brand frozen chicken pieces. The bags leak when defrosting. It seems to me it would be a health/food safety issue because if liquid can leak out, bacteria can get in.

                                                                                                        1. Biggest pet peeve goes to Trader Joe's packaging. In some cases the packaging outweighs the product 3 to 1. I'd rather see TJ's strip down to a no frills package and keep the $$ in the food.

                                                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                            I'm a regular TJ shopper, and can't off hand think of items with excess packaging. As a rule their produce is packaged more than general groceries, but that allows them to treat produce much like other items. That is, they don't ship produce in bulk to the store, to be trimmed and laid out by a dedicated (but minimum wage) produce staff.

                                                                                                            1. re: paulj

                                                                                                              What immediately comes to mind is found in the frozen food aisles. I had purchased a burrito for my son and the packaging included the box, the plastic wrapper and the individual plastic wrapper covering each burrito. No issue with the produce (as of yet anyway).

                                                                                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                I have a package of their cookie icecream sandwiches. Those are in a plastic tray, presumably for the same reason for fragile cookies. Come to think of it, their frozen macarons are packed in individual plastic nests.

                                                                                                                The burrito's might be wrapped individually because they are meant to be warmed and eaten one-at-a-time. The box for handling and instructions, the plastic wrapper for packaging convenience. On the other hand their ice cream bars ('dove' or fruit) just have the box and individually wrapped (paper) bars.

                                                                                                                My impression is that TJ puts their own label on things, but for the most part does not develop products or their packaging.

                                                                                                                1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                  Even if that's true (My impression is that TJ puts their own label on things, but for the most part does not develop products or their packaging.) they are the ones selling it and standing behind their name/label. My son adores TJ's and we often discuss coming & going from shopping there the dilemma we both find btwn their company philosophy and their packaging.

                                                                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                    Thinking about how they package fennel, I suspect some (many?) of the packaging choices are based on shelf space. Their diversity of products is quite high relative to typical store area. So they favor packaging that does not take up excess shelf space.

                                                                                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                      My TJ shopping is primarily the frozen packaged items for my college age son. There is packaging waste in that area of the store. I can't say I've ever bought much produce at the location near me.

                                                                                                          2. Wegmans sells a bunch of their salads (like, mâche, one of my favorite) and salad mixes in massive plastic shell containers. They're kinda useless for storing anything else in them later, it's a horrible waste of space & too much plastic. HATE. So I hardly buy mâche anymore. Wah.

                                                                                                            I do like the little plastic containers they have for stuff at the olive / meze bar, b/c they are great for storing leftovers, and we often remember to bring them along and reuse.

                                                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                              I love those huge clamshells! I re-use for lettuces and sliced veggies and fruits that I prep ahead and use for a few days at a time. Also good for storing appetizers in (w/waxed paper between layers).

                                                                                                              1. re: DuchessNukem

                                                                                                                I'm sure the manufacturers try to keep the amount of material in the clamshells to a minimum - just enough to do the job. It would be interesting to compare the weight of an empty shell with that of a plastic bag of similar capacity.

                                                                                                                The only produce I get regularly packed this way is fennel - TJ sells 2 trimmed bulbs for $2 in a plastic case. The quality and price are more consistent than the full frond bulbs other places sell. I'm sure handling ease is the main reason TJ uses them.

                                                                                                                1. re: DuchessNukem

                                                                                                                  I buy these every so often, and I reuse them! I lay lettuce in them layered between paper towels.

                                                                                                                  Come to think of it, I think using paper towels is bad, but I can't think of a better alternative. I use a lot of paper towels.

                                                                                                                  I wish salad bars would give a choice of container not made of styrofoam.

                                                                                                                  1. re: DuchessNukem

                                                                                                                    Yeah? So how many of those clamshells do you need? Do you just keep buying them and stacking them until you have 100? I mean, each time I'd buy mâche, I'd have another clamshell.

                                                                                                                    The reason I like the olive bar containers is that I can take them back and refill.

                                                                                                                    1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                      LOL. A hundred would be a few too many. I lose them through attrition: take food in them to work or to a friend's house, they get tossed; used for a sprouting experiment; the thin plastic crumples or cracks and gets recyc'd; diverted to contain a craft project. I probably have about 10 available right now.

                                                                                                                  2. re: linguafood

                                                                                                                    Our recycling takes these, have you tried that?

                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                      I think I did..... but I shall try again :-)

                                                                                                                  3. Two real hates:

                                                                                                                    1. The seal under a jar (like instant coffee), on spice jars. One needs a knife to cut all the way around the opening.

                                                                                                                    2. Take out dinners coming home in styrofoam. Any food steams in it for the trip home, especially fried food.


                                                                                                                    1. Ugh. Whole Foods take-away salad containers. Don't get me started. It's great to be environmentally friendly (I think that's the point of using these), but if the container isn't able to hold up to something as damp as a salad bar salad, then what's the point? And no, I'm not even putting the dressing on the salad, it's just things like chickpeas and tofu with some moisture that soaks right through it.

                                                                                                                      For those who don't know these boxes, a brief google image search brought up this:

                                                                                                                      1. Definitely a fan of glass ... jars etc. Love beer/soda in a glass bottle. I dislike all microwaveable packages...all that frozen food bs.

                                                                                                                        1. Like: anchovies in a toothpaste squeeze tube.

                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                            Make sure you're wide awake so you don't confuse the two.

                                                                                                                            1. re: mucho gordo

                                                                                                                              It's the best way to get a good night kiss from your cat.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                LOL! I'll have to tell my son. He's got 3 katz

                                                                                                                          2. I prefer my butter to be in the little wax paper sticks rather than foil - can you guess why?
                                                                                                                            Because sometimes I need slightly softened butter and I'm lazy so I like to just throw the stick in the microwave for 10 secs. or so...

                                                                                                                            I COULD use a butter bell (that's a finite amount tho), I COULD leave it out on the counter for 5 minutes (I live in Houston TX, home of 104 degree summer days)...sigh, pure laziness.. haha

                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: emmekin

                                                                                                                              For cold sticks of butter, a vegetable peeler works well to give you nice thin pieces.

                                                                                                                                1. re: chefathome

                                                                                                                                  I nearly always leave out 1-2 sticks of butter at room temp, even in the summer. Just never know when a baking urge will hit. Plus, it's heavenly on nice hot toast.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                    +1 there's always butter on my counter.

                                                                                                                            2. Hate Nutella jars. It should be packed in a jar with no shoulders.

                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                              1. re: phofiend

                                                                                                                                But that's what an index finger is for. ;o)

                                                                                                                              2. Target has the "Archer Farms" brand. Their potato chips and tortilla chips come in bags that have a zip lock to re-seal. It is really nice!

                                                                                                                                Also...I like the Oreo cookie packaging. They have a thin strip on the front of the package that you pull to open and it is sticky so it can re-seal.

                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: Greek Chefs Daughter

                                                                                                                                  Oreo packages re-seal??? clearly you're doing something wrong. <wink and grin>

                                                                                                                                  1. re: jujuthomas


                                                                                                                                    We only re-seal if the family does not demolish the entire bag in one sitting--LOL!!!

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Greek Chefs Daughter

                                                                                                                                      I sometimes open and close that package just to make sure the graphics line up perfectly. Love playing with my food (and the packages they come in) ... LOL. ; - )

                                                                                                                                2. I'm a big fan of cornstarch in a canister with a plastic lid. A huge improvement over the boxes with a wax-paper bag inside that it came in in decades past, which inevitably led to cornstarch getting everywhere. (Same thing's true of powdered sugar, which I now can buy in a zip-top bag.)

                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                                                    For some reason, mine still comes in the old packaging, with the paper bag lining in a box. Just yesterday, I started a new box and ended up with white powder splatters all over - on the countertop, on the stove top, on the water jug, on my clothes, on my hands. A splatter when unfolding the paper (that already had the fine white powder trapped in its many folds), a splatter when trying to get a spoonful out and it gets caught in the folds of the bag, a splatter when the same spoonful gets caught again at the flap of the cardboard box. I usually try to tear off the excess flaps and paper to minimize more mess, but that task itself is messy too.

                                                                                                                                    This packaging (fortunately one of its kind) annoys me to no end, so I should definitely try to find the ones in the new packaging!

                                                                                                                                  2. Hate: stuff that's individually wrapped when not necessary, or uses an absurd amount of packaging. Veggies in the produce section put in a foam tray and wrapped in cling wrap.

                                                                                                                                    Love: The wrappings for onigiri at 7-11. It's compact, easy to open, and managed to keep the seaweed crispy until the moment you eat it.

                                                                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                                                                                                                                      *boggles* Where do you live that they have onigiri at 7-11?

                                                                                                                                      1. My Wegman's has started packaging their fresh okra, shrinkwrapped, on a styrofoam tray. I like to be able to pick and choose my pods...I will not pay for the big woody ones. I haven't bought okra there since they began the practice.

                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                        1. re: Christina D

                                                                                                                                          How many pods are in a package. I can't imagine a shrink wrapped tray would hold enough okra, unless it's like the giant trays used or "value pack" meats.

                                                                                                                                        2. Dog food (kibble) bags. With all the advances in dog food, you'd think more manufacturers would use easier to open and seal, or even re-sealable bags.

                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: cringle22

                                                                                                                                            You are supposed to buy a plastic bin to store the dog food after opening. :)

                                                                                                                                            I agree that they are a bit of a pain to open correctly - i.e. in a way that I can pour the food out without spilling. Heavy duty scissors are useful. I use binder clips to close bags like this.

                                                                                                                                            My guess is that the bag closure is designed for manufacturing ease, and security while shipping and handling. The bag holding 20 or 40 lbs of food needs to be strong. It's probably the same sort of bag design as used for foods and chemicals sold in similar size bags to restaurants and other commercial establishments. They probably cut the bags open with a box cutter, and don't worry about resealing it.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: cringle22

                                                                                                                                              My cat's eats science diet, which comes in resealable bags up to 25 pounds I think.

                                                                                                                                            2. I like glass jars in general, especially for foodstuff that is meant to be used over a long period of time such as pickles and mayonnaise, but I actually would rather see yogurt and kefir in a plastic tub and not in glass jars (which is often the case for the higher-end brands). Sure, I reuse or recycle when possible, but for the amount I consume, there are already have too many over-sized, sturdy glass jars for the space I have, and I do not feel that even recycling justifies the resource consumption to make/process all those jars.

                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                              1. re: vil

                                                                                                                                                I just learned something interesting and I hope I can share without seeming "preachy". It is not my intent.

                                                                                                                                                Glass is almost infinitely recyclable and can be turned back in to glass again. Plastic can only be "downcycled" meaning it is remade in to an inferior material perhaps twice at most before it must be disposed of in a landfill. Who does the plastic recycling? China. Our domestic recycling centers sort and prepare the plastic and then ship it to China via container ship. So the energy cost and environmental impact of plastic, even if "recycled", may be greater than people realize.

                                                                                                                                                The choice, of course, is up to you.

                                                                                                                                              2. I forgot to add paper bags of flour. It's impossible to unroll the tops without getting flour everywhere. I dearly wish they came in a canister of some sort.

                                                                                                                                                11 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: Christina D

                                                                                                                                                  Yes! And I usually rip a hole in it while trying to open it. I love Wheat Montana bags, they are in a zip-type bag.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: wyogal

                                                                                                                                                    I was waiting for someone to mention these. Surely there's a better way? They have been like that for bloody ever. Tear them and you have the four coming out all wonky. Most annoying.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                      They could always go back to cloth bags with patterns for making flour sack towels.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: meatn3

                                                                                                                                                          It would be cool. (For four read flour, of course.)

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: mpjmph

                                                                                                                                                          My mother grew up on a farm, poor as those proverbial church mice. The kids wore home-sewn flour sack underwear. Think I'll stick to my Spanx.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: pine time

                                                                                                                                                            But insects can get between the weave of the fabric.

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Christina D

                                                                                                                                                      Many, many years ago I acquired - and I have no idea where from or how - a large, metal canister with a tight-fitting lid that holds 10+ pounds of flour. When I buy a new bag cut the top and pour the contents into the canister. No muss, and no bugs either.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: tardigrade

                                                                                                                                                        Isn't a matching set of flour and sugar canisters a required wedding gift?

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                                                          Oh, this isn't one of those mingy matchy-set things that barely holds a modern 4-lb sack of flour! It's about 15" high and 12" in diameter. It may have come from my father, a food chemist who was wont to bring lab stuff home.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: tardigrade

                                                                                                                                                            Have had my own kitchen for nearly 40 years, and I've never owned a set of canisters. Just don't see the point--takes up counter space (altho' I have tons of counter space), and I don't like fixed sizes--i.e., something that holds 5 lbs. takes up the same space when it's reduced to 1/2 c. Just my quirk.

                                                                                                                                                    3. I also share your feeling on glass jars/bottles vs. plastic.

                                                                                                                                                      Another type of packaging that I strongly dislike are tea bags...I'm a huge tea drinker, and tea bags often involve (1) the bag, often with a staple, string, and tag (2) often a wrapper around the individual bag (3) a box to contain the bags (4) shrink-wrap. So much unnecessary packaging when you could just be buying and brewing loose-leaf tea.

                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: cazort

                                                                                                                                                        I assume that you just drink tea at home, with a full kitchen, tea kettle, running water and garbage can at your disposal. While I have used bagged tea at home, mostly I use it when camping or traveling. In that context the individually wrapped bags are quite handy.

                                                                                                                                                        The box and its covering are mainly for retail convenience (including preventing tampering).

                                                                                                                                                        You or I may not need all that packaging, but that does not mean it is completely unnecessary.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cazort

                                                                                                                                                          I'm not a frequent tea drinker so I don't have the full kit. I have bags for guests. My peeve is the staple so often found attaching the tag to the bag. I like to throw the bag in the compost but don't really want bits of sharp metal in my veggie plot.

                                                                                                                                                        2. I also love the tomato paste in tube form. As well you can also get a red pepper paste in the tube as well. Any Italian speciality store will have these items.
                                                                                                                                                          I dislike the seals on spices that have a styrofoam covering with a little plastic tab to lift off the covering. Very hard to open. I find it also difficult to open some of the bags in boxes, e.g. crackers, the bags are hard to open, you need scissors...

                                                                                                                                                          1. How about the cracker sleeves that insist upon splitting lengthwise once you've opened the sleeve, making closing them with a twist tie near impossible? Saltines and oreos, I'm lookin' at you.

                                                                                                                                                            1. We get our groceries delivered (living in NJ in one of the few towns without a supermarket, and still adamant non-car-owners). Fresh Direct sends "Avocados ready to eat" (ARE!) in these little numbers, and they're super useful for carrying soft fruits, tomatoes, etc. to work for lunch. Also keep ripe avocados in the fridge from doing the dreaded roll and splat or getting otherwise bashed.

                                                                                                                                                              1. Easy open cans are a step in the right direction. Love those.

                                                                                                                                                                1. My biggest packaging peeve is cellophane or similar packaging that is easy to rip (especially) down the side) and impossible to reseal. Some examples:

                                                                                                                                                                  Bags of snacks from the interstate rest stop. They usually have some paperboard stapled across the top for labeling and hanging. Removing this causes the bag to split and M&M's go everywhere. Even if you manage to remove keep the bag intact, the first time you stick your hand in the bag it splits down the side seam and M&M's go everywhere.

                                                                                                                                                                  Artisan tortilla chips from the deli counter. I would love to support the smaller manufacturers, but not when the bag disintegrates upon opening. It seems all smaller manufacturers of snack foods use these bags.

                                                                                                                                                                  Those previously mentioned plastic cookie trays? Yup! Sleeved in instantly destructing cellophane, guaranteed to give you stale cookies.

                                                                                                                                                                  Pasta. If it doesn't come in a box it probably comes in a cello bag. Unless you use it all at once you have to repackage it.

                                                                                                                                                                  OTOH, I like packaging for semi-fluid products like catsup that have the caps on the bottom.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. Pre cut lettuce mixes in the gas filled plastic bags. Once open it goes bad within a day or two.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. Not exactly packaging, but another thing that bugs me a little bit is the PLU stickers on produce. - i should probably seek some professional help with this "issue", but for some strange reason (mostly when I'm preparing something for other people) I can't stop myself from thinking, "I hope this sticker glue that I couldn't totally clean off is edible"

                                                                                                                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Bryan Pepperseed

                                                                                                                                                                        They are annoying. I hate it when you pull one off and part of the item's skin comes with it.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                                                                          I propose a special place in Hell for whoever invented those stickers. I can never get them off pears without taking part of the peel with them. They don't compost: if I overlook one it ends up in the finished compost until I fish it out. Hate, hate, hate!

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: tardigrade

                                                                                                                                                                            I guess it's easier for the store than properly training an employee to scan a PLU chart. That would require being able to identify the produce without yelling to another cashier for help! ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                      2. I really hate the "new" packaging for frozen vegetables. It's supposed to be resealable by rolling the top and using the self-adhesive strip attached to the bag. The strip never sticks for me, and so I end up using one of my claw clips to hold the bag shut. At least with the old packaging, the plastic was pliable enough to shut with a twist-tie.

                                                                                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Blush

                                                                                                                                                                            oh, those self adhesive strips never stick! I use binder clips from the office supply store to hold lots of those bags closed... DH got me zebra print clips one year for christmas. Boy have they come in handy!

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                Ah, those are a knock-off of the (also Swedish!) more-expensive Twixit clips you can buy at all kinds of home/kitchen-supply stores. Great clips.


                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                                                                                                  Those are the ones I have! Man, I love Ikea. It's probably a good thing the closest one is over two hours away!

                                                                                                                                                                            1. I hate cardboard packaging with a perforated "push here to open", like the ones on baking soda boxes or on 12-packs of soda. I also really hate the metal spout on the cardboard canisters of Morton's salt, the squeak of the spout against the cardboard always makes me cringe.

                                                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: gmm

                                                                                                                                                                                That's a hallowed traditional design. I'm thinking in particular of the push in spouts for foods like Cream of Wheat, and even dry cereals like Grape Nuts. From a manufacturers view point those must be simple and easy to produce, even if they aren't the best for consumers. But with advances in automation and easy to mold plastics, it is economical to make more elaborate consumer friendly openings. But others have complained about plastic screw caps on orange juice cartons, preferring the old tear-open spouts.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: gmm

                                                                                                                                                                                  Yes! Those perforated thingies on baking soda boxes are insane. And that squeak? Makes me cringe, too.

                                                                                                                                                                                  As many others have mentioned, I too love the squeeze tubes of tomato paste and umami paste. Brilliant.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: gmm

                                                                                                                                                                                    Oh my goodness the salt squeak gets me every time! I use David's kosher salt whenever possible to avoid using the Morton's canister. Just thinking about it gives me the chills.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Hate mayonnaise jars! I think it should come in plastic bags that you just squeeze like a pastry bag or in wide-mouthed tubs. Yes, I've tried the squeezable mayo in plastic bottles, but the texture is different and there's still waste at the end. A weird peeve, I know, but I can't be the only one.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Isolda

                                                                                                                                                                                      How about this Peruvian mayonnese in a squeeze pouch? Ala Cena brand


                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Speaking of perishables in resealable ziploc bags: the idiots who print the expiration date on the part that you tear off and throw away.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Fage also prints their expiration date on the plastic seal that you throw away.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. HATE: This morning I opened my first (and probably last) bag of Beaumont Coffee Beans from Aldi Grocery Store. I wanted to try this coffee, on recommendations of some folks on another Chowhound thread. I pulled, I tugged... I felt my little ego in pain, as well as my biceps (or were they the triceps?). I got out needle nose pliers- really- to assist the pull-apart. Tore the top of the bag a little, but still couldn't get in. Finally, took the scissors to that rascal of a bag. The product inside was not worth the effort, but that's another story. Never had a coffee bag or any bag ever fight me like that.

                                                                                                                                                                                        LOVE: Long gone: waxy cardboard milk cartons, with a circular flip up cap about the size of a half dollar. "Love" the packaging for the nostalgia of it, but its gone (40 years back there??). Florida Hound

                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Florida Hound

                                                                                                                                                                                          I remember those, they were square and flat on top -- from when I was really little. More than 40 years ago.

                                                                                                                                                                                          Am amused by the beer cans you're supposed to pierce to get the beer to flow better. We always put a big and a little hole in beverage cans with a church key pre-poptop.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. In my latest protein kick, I have found a protein powder called "Serious Mass." I ordered a 12 pound bag, on-line (nothing in moderation around here...). The top of the bag has a "zip lock" type opening/ close, but it does not work worth a hang. Maybe when the bag is 1/2 empty, the zip mechanism will not be pulled this way or that by the bulky, awkward 12 lb bag. So, for the moment, I "zip" it as best as I can, fold the top over, and use a chip bag clip or 2 to keep it shut.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. Hate the way yogurt is packaged these days. The aluminum cover is fragile and gets torn easily. Plus when you actually WANT to open the yogurt, you get splashback.

                                                                                                                                                                                            I miss the old plastic lids.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. I love the packaging for Lundberg's rices: Velcro! This is perfect for me, as I hate trying to line up the zip lock closures which can take several tries if they work at all.

                                                                                                                                                                                              I keep the empty rice bags, slap a peel label on them and re-use for other things that aren't packaged so cleverly.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. I hate anything where my arthritic hands can't get in. Those peel back sticky tags on packaged meats, pull off rings, cereal inner bags, jars with that tough cellophane wrap for security purposes. Sometimes I have to give up opening something until my daughter comes over.