Food packaging is corporate foil

Sunday is grocery day in my house, and it is always a struggle to decide where to go. Over the last few weeks I have been a regular visitor to the Shattuck and El Cerrito farmers markets and a produce only grocery store, the Monterey Market. Today, Wendy and I were lookin’ for some non-farmers market essentials like toilet paper, soap, and mouthwash. We talked of Trader Joe’s or Safeway but I hate that everything comes prepackaged. Do I need a box inside a package inside a container? When did food packaging become so esoteric? Does it really help prevent spoilage or is it just more surface area for advertising!! This is a real turn-off. Just because I can recycle the packaging doesn’t mean I want to have to do that in the first place. I think the whole food industry is missing the boat.

Sara Fuller has a nice blog post on food packaging as part of a group locavore experience called Eating Alabama. Here is a snipett:

I realized this when my parents came for a visit and I bought “conventional” groceries. We had to throw away bags from potato chips, paper from cereal boxes, milk containers from soy milk. It adds up. Even if you think that how you are eating is ethical- the organic potato chips or the antibiotic free milk, there is still the issue of waste to consider. How we make decisions about food should not exclude this concern.

Thanks Sara for bringing up this great point. I am going to do my part and try to buy food that doesn’t come prepackaged or have advertising on it. When I get produce, grains, nuts, and dried fruit in bulk I’ll try to reuse the plastic bag. Bringing cloth bags to the store also helps. When I eat out, I have a nifty little tin for leftovers a-la Sigg, a Swiss-based company. If all this works I’ll know because the trash can will need emptying much less.

For more on food and food packaging:


5 responses to “Food packaging is corporate foil

  1. good post. but i don’t get how you can’t get mouthwash or toilet paper that isn’t prepackaged.

    one of the problems about getting produce without the packaging is that most mainstream grocery stores get annoyed when you give them, like, 4 squashes that aren’t in a plastic bag. they don’t get it. i mean, only recently has the one up the street from me been able to mentally process it when you hand over a bunch of cloth bags.

    it’s better at the farmer’s market i go to, but again i’m leery of handing over a head of lettuce that’s dripping with water. maybe if you went to each individual vendor and handled the food yourself, that would be fine. but our farmer’s market has one place where you get ringed up for all of your produce.

  2. i never liked taking out the trash anyway….better if i have to do it less!!!

  3. ok Jordon, good point. I have never seen toilet paper or mouthwash sold in the bulk foods section. (i can imagine a giant roll where you can wind your own amount!) what scares me is produce sitting in a styrafoam tray on absorbant paper, wrapped in plastic just like a chicken breast. those things are two different foods but treated the same way. as far as cleanliness, all fruits and veggies need to be washed with a mild detergent before consumed raw, whether or not they come prepackaged or prewashed.

  4. “what scares me is produce sitting in a styrafoam tray on absorbant paper, wrapped in plastic just like a chicken breast. those things are two different foods but treated the same way.”

    haha, i know. i hate that trader joes does shit like that.

    re: the toilet paper, just do what i do. i don’t buy it and i just use my left hand.

  5. Pingback: The Ultimate Healthy Diet « Biologics and Health: Sue Love’s blog

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