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“Food” on our grocery shelves that shouldn’t even exist

Every time I go grocery shopping, I think: Who buys this and what the heck do they use it for?

This is my list of foods that I think should NOT ever exist and be sold to consumers, even if it’s “convenient” and “time-saving”.

PRE-MIXED EGGS IN A CARTON

Shanghai-China-Photograph-Wet-Market-Eggs-Food

You have to be really… really… lazy to not want to crack open eggs, and would rather crack open a carton to pour our some liquefied eggs.

I don’t even care that you buy the eggs in a carton that are egg whites only, that is just …wrong on so many levels.

COFFEE WHITENERS

What is the purpose of this food additive? To make your coffee whiter? It’s just for colour?

SERIOUSLY?

Why not add milk (plant or animal-based)?

Even with the new coffee whiteners that let you add toffee and caramel flavours, that just means what you’d really like is a toffee or caramel drink but don’t want to buy one.

INSTANT MASHED POTATOES

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Okay, so boiling and peeling potatoes takes some work, and so does mashing them… but I think this is an abomination on the shelf.

When I cook potatoes, I can’t even freeze them because when I go to defrost them, they taste mushy or spongey, or a weird mix of the two.

How can they make dehydrated potato flakes taste remotely delicious unless they add a lot of fat or salt?

Yuck.

PRE-COOKED HARDBOILED EGGS

Again, seriously?

You can’t make hardboiled eggs in 5 minutes? It just takes water, heat and some time.

Then you just peel them. This has to be preferable to pre-cooked, slimy, chewy pre-cooked hardboiled eggs in a bag.

PEELED POTATOES IN A BAG

..AGAIN. Just use a peeler on some real potatoes. Why do you need to buy them in a plastic bag after a factory has peeled them?

You have to really be frickin’ lazy to buy these.

PRE-CUT FRUIT UNLESS YOU ARE IN A RUSH AND STARVING

Photograph-Travel-China-Strawberries-Fruit-Food

Have you ever seen how much pre-cut fruit costs? A lot.

I go into Loblaws and marvel at how people (could) just pick up a little tub of mixed pre-cut fruit, and think to myself:

Is it really THAT hard to buy a box of raspberries or blueberries, pick up a fresh apple or an orange and eat them?

The only fruit you should be buying pre-cut when you are in a rush is something like a watermelon or a pineapple which requires a knife and a cutting board.

Otherwise, get the fruit yourself, bring it home, slice it up and bring it to work in a Tupperware box.

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using TheBudgetingTool.com. Since then, I have paid my $600K home in cash (my half was $300K), my $180K casr in cash, worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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26 Comments

  1. Izabela Michalska

    I have only found instant mashed potatoes on the shelves a couple years ago, but in my country (Poland) it doesn’t sell well. Pepole just buy rice, porridge or couscous when they don’t want to peel potatoes.
    But pre-cooked eggs – it used to be common to boil it at home and then eat (when you are on a trip or in a long journey where there are no shops). However I would feel strange to buy it at shop.
    For me the most ridiculous is to buy: peeled carrots as a snack (they cost 20x/30x more than normal carrots).

    Reply
    1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

      Haha.. peeled carrots. Forgot about those. “baby carrots” too because it’s just ridiculous.

      Reply
  2. Jess

    I agree that most of these things seem really lazy and cost more, so why not just buy the real fresh thing. One thing that has opened my eyes though is in my work with people with disabilities and older adults, they really rely on the pre cut and prepared foods. It costs more and is not as fresh and healthy, but that’s simply the way it is. They may not be able to stand stably without falling or have rheumatoid in their fingers and can’t cut or they live in public housing in a shoebox studio where there is literally no bench space and all they have is a kettle and microwave. There’s not enough government funding to provide enough services for these activities. People starting to receive basic level services get 1.5hr domestic services a fortnight, and people on the frailer end of the spectrum might receive 12hrs/week (and paying for it) but when you take into account daily personal care and doctor appointments, there’s not much time left to do wholesome shops and food preparation. It really is sad and such an injustice.

    Reply
    1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

      Oh what a good point. I never thought about it…. I’d love to volunteer to help seniors in need.

      Reply
    2. mia

      Yeah my grandmother buys some pre-cut and pre-packaged fruits and things like that. She’s still independent and can get her own groceries (store is right around the corner from her) and walks just fine but I wouldn’t want her with a sharp knife cutting up a pineapple or cantaloupe or anything like that, for example, because of her arthritis.

      Reply
      1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

        That is such a good point, everyone. Thank you!

        Reply
  3. KT

    I’m very happy to see pre-hard-boiled eggs in the market when I’m traveling. They seemed common in Japan and I ate some for lunch every day along with a rice ball filled with something new. They’re also quite welcome when I’m in the American South and am having a hard time finding restaurants within walking distance that will fit my dietary preferences. So I’ll defend hardboiled eggs — but nothing else 🙂

    Reply
    1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

      HAHAH! OK I’ll give you the eggs… I don’t get it when we’re at home & people buy them instead of just boiling their own but if you travel, I agree.

      Reply
  4. SarahN

    Whilst I do agree they are all a little ‘what the’ I also think – better lazy person buys pre cut/washed/peeled vegetable or fruit than not at all. And at the end of the day – any of the lazy items you mention are better than the thousands of synthetic crap they could have bought.

    Yeah – and coffee creamer – makes us Aussies wonder what the heck? It’s not a ‘thing’ here, though I do think you can buy it, I can’t imagine it’s anyone other than US students.

    Reply
    1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

      Ugh. Coffee creamer. Ick.

      Reply
  5. Jessie's Money

    I’ve never, never understood mashed potatoes in a box….yuck!

    Reply
    1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

      I gag each time I see it.

      Reply
  6. Sarah

    I HATE boxed potatoes. So gross. The ONLY time I’ve ever bought pre-sliced fruit/veggies is when its in one of those little to-go boxes (like a mix of stuff) for a lunch when I’m traveling. It takes like 2 seconds to slice up produce.

    Sarah
    The Midwest Darling

    Reply
    1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

      I say when traveling: Why not? … not for those at home though.

      Reply
  7. Cassie

    I’ve never seen bagged peeled potatoes before, but canned peeled potatoes I have. The concept of instant mashed potatoes makes me gag, but there are some instances where they both *kinda* make sense, namely in regions of the country that are food insecure. I used to work as a grocery store cashier when I lived further up north, and every so often we would have a family that drove down from the Yukon or the NWT to stock up on supplies. They’d bring massive coolers and buy 6 months worth of food at a time. While they did also buy fresh produce, including potatoes, most of it won’t last 6 months. You can store potatoes for that long, but if something gets into them, or one is bruised/rotting and you don’t catch it, you’re SOL. Having instant or canned potatoes in those situations can either help make the existing local food supplies last, or stave off starvation. I’d have a harder time justifying it somewhere like Toronto or Montreal though.

    I’m not big on the flavoured creamers either (chemical city), but at the same time I know a lot of people who use them as a treat. Not everyone can afford to buy those flavoured coffee drinks, nor does everyone have access to them. I’m thinking about seniors who live on small pensions in remote towns outside of the big cities. I’ve seen flavoured creamers in a lot of their fridges. That and the chemicals make them shelf stable, so people who wouldn’t go through an entire carton of cream before it spoils can keep them in the fridge longer. Ditto for remote work camps. It’s not good for you, but I understand why it’s done.

    Reply
    1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

      Good point about the rural places or areas….

      Reply
  8. Taylor Lee @ Yuppie Millennial

    I’ve definitely eaten pre-cooked hard-boiled eggs in the airport. Most of these I can see being useful while traveling, has to grab something quick for an event (I’m thinking people bringing those big trays of cut fruit for a potluck), or (as mentioned above) if someone is not physically able to do the prep work. Otherwise, yeah, premixed eggs guys? Seriously?

    Reply
    1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

      Hehe.. pre-mixed eggs.

      Reply
  9. raluca

    Precut/cleaned frozen veggies/fruits are great for when they are not in season. I mean, grean peas are only in season for 2 months tops. The same for brocolli, strawberries, blueberries, etc. I think it’s less wastefull than buying blueberries from Peru, which have to be flown over just to have them fresh. I also think that eating frozen peas is better than eating canned peas, both for taste and nutrition, but I’m no expert.

    Reply
    1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

      I’d agree with frozen peas instead of canned ones but I am still not a fan. I want to grow my own food now.

      Reply
  10. Ramona

    He he, most of these are also very expensive (no one cleans and cuts your fruits for free). I do like to purchase the stuff ‘as it should be’ and not bother with pre-made stuff.

    Reply
    1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

      I guess if it pushes the economy round and round..

      Reply
  11. Fran

    I think a lot of healthy working age people do buy these products out of sheer laziness, so that’s not great!

    But things like pre-prepared fruit and veg can be really genuinely helpful for people who are older and/or disabled – if you have bad arthritis in your hands then you might not be able to chop up vegetables yourself, or if you have trouble standing up you might not feel safe using the stove to boil eggs. So if selling pre-prepared ingredients can help those people eat more healthily, rather than just being stuck eating microwave meals, then I’m all for it.

    Reply
    1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

      Excellent point! Thank you for pointing that out.

      Reply
  12. Investment Hunting

    I feel the same way about diced vegetables and guacamole.

    Reply
    1. sherry@savespendsplurge.com

      It’s just so easy to do it at home if you are able bodied.

      Reply

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