Are consumers picky when it comes to the contents and packaging of food?

From los quesos to carnes to vegetales frescos — I just love a Spanish food market. In fact, I love any market that offers a variety of food. (I am a huge foodie — check out my food blog).

Something that my mum and I have always discussed is how markets offer nobbly bobbly tomatoes, strawberries that are abnormally large but super juicy, carrots that all differ in size and they can all be put in a paper bag for you to take home.

Everything seems fresher and more ‘real’ at food markets. It's good that you have a choice to roam and rustle through the boxes of fruit and veg to choose what you want. With some supermarket products, you don’t always have the choice as the product is already wrapped for you.

When you pop to your local supermarket the fruit and veg are sometimes packaged in unrecyclable plastic film or in a plastic container. The contents always look pristine like they were genetically modified. Surely this means most of our farmers' crops are chucked away if their product doesn’t look adequate enough to go on shop shelves?

Look at the difference — left is all the unnecessary packaging compared to the right where no plastic is used and that is how I have started to shop.

A few years ago, Asda sold boxes containing enough vegetables to feed a family of four for a week at the price of £3.50. It was a trial that was rolled out in 2016 but I haven’t heard or seen anything more about it. The hope was to cut down on food waste, as ‘ugly’ veg is often disposed of even though it is edible.

Asda ‘wonky’ veg box

The other day my grandad spoke of a grocery store that used to be on Holloway in Cowley, Oxford. There were vegetables like above and there was no plastic to keep it all together. I read a blog the other day which was pro-plastic wrapping in supermarkets because ‘it stops disease’. I mean, I don’t know if that is completely accurate but I get the idea.

For me, it keeps the contents fresh and protects the items from damage but surely it’s the consumers choice if we want our food plastic wrapped? Maybe there should be a machine that wraps for you and you will be charged an extra amount per wrapped item at the till or even the little plastic bags that are provided should be paper bags instead. This would definitely cut down on unnecessary plastic use.

Most of the people I know aren’t keen on plastic-wrapped food or pristine looking fruit and veg. Plastic has been a saving grace in many ways but in the 21st century, we are using it more and more when there ARE alternatives to frequent plastic use.

I saw this earlier today:
Too often, companies still view their product packaging as an afterthought. So much time, money, and care go into the meticulous creation and perfection of their products, but if it’s not packaged properly, all those efforts will go to waste.
Currently, the public wants to see less plastic so I’m not really sure if they care about what's on the packaging but what the packaging is actually made of. We are organised when it comes to our clients here at h2o Creative Communications but when it comes to our lunches, not so much! Over half of us buy our lunch from the supermarket and then come back and discuss the amount of plastic we have accumulated over one day and what impact that is having. The number of people I hear in fruit and veg aisles saying things like, “what a waste of plastic” or “who actually cares if the veg isn’t plastic wrapped?”

My evaluation:

  1. More ugly fruit and veg to save farmers needless waste.
I love this type of marketing where they know there is an audience who aren’t fussed about the shape or look of the food they are eating. After all, its the taste that matters and if it tastes the same then it doesn’t matter! I would love to see more of this.

2. Re-market food packaging. More paper bags in supermarket fruit and veg aisles to cater to the public demands.