No shit Sherlock!

“The results reveal what many of us have long suspected: conveniently pre-sliced or pre-portioned foods (as well as those for special dietary needs) attract a significant premium over the standard version. “

Next week Which? explains to us ursine defecatory habits.

20 thoughts on “No shit Sherlock!”

  1. It’s not difficult to compare prices. The supermarkets usually have a price per x amount which makes it trivial. Also tinned carrots are really a different product to fresh ones. I’m surprised the tinned variety have survived as the food market has become global and seasons have ceased to mean anything much for the consumer.

  2. I agree, Eddy. It’s just that some people (brought up with them) prefer the taste: cf tinned vs fresh salmon, salad cream vs mayonnaise, …

  3. It’s mostly true, but not always. For example tins of chopped tomatoes are much cheaper than buying whole tomatoes and chopping them yourself. Rotisserie chickens are usually cheaper than uncooked too.

    British supermarkets only sell flawless vegetables, whereas prepared foods use much cheaper wonky veg, so prepared foods can work out cheaper. Anything that involves extending the shelf-life – freezing, cooking, or putting into cans or jars – will also lower the price.

  4. Andrew M said:
    “British supermarkets only sell flawless vegetables”

    That’s just not true any more. They sell the wonky ones in their cheap range.

    Sainsbury’s sell loose carrots, then in bags they sell carrots, “basics” carrots (the wonky ones), organic carrots and bunched carrots; all different qualities (or perceived qualities) at different prices.

  5. Bloke no Longer in Austria

    It’s also a matter of waste.
    Often the pre-prepared packets of carrots or cauliflower offer perfect sized portions.
    I am astonished about how little food I waste now that I’m alone and also that I don’t have huge piles of peelings left behind.

  6. So Much For Subtlety

    Ummm, people don’t sell what other people don’t want. The great thing about the capitalist market system is that people don’t usually do things unless they add value to someone’s life.

    So if it is sold, and it involves more labour or trouble, it is likely to be more expensive.

  7. Intractable Potsherd

    Re: salad cream v mayonnaise. One is slimy rubbish, the other is salad cream. My foreign wife thinks I am mad, but a chip or egg butty with salad cream is one of my favourite foods 🙂

  8. Andy M>

    “Rotisserie chickens are usually cheaper than uncooked too.”

    Was it someone on here (possibly you?) recently who suggested that rotisserie chickens are as cheap as they are because the supermarkets cook the going-out-of-date (raw) chickens, which would otherwise be sold at a reduced price?


    Salad cream is just mayonnaise with a little vinegar and sugar added, but it makes a surprisingly large difference. I can’t think of any context where both are appropriate, so I don’t see that they’re substitutes for each other. You can no more make tuna mayo with salad cream instead than you can make a cheese’n’salad sarnie with mayo.

    Frankly, I’m appalled that we’ve been wasting time focussing on the Idiocy of Ritchie while such earth-shattering subjects as this are left undebated.

  9. Pre-prepared food costs more than unprepared food? Fuck me. That explains why restaurants charge such high prices. I though they charged more because they were neo-liberals.

  10. Yup, this is news to how many people? The more interesting thing is to find products where preparation does little to the price. At the lower grades at least, grated and sliced cheeses are more or less the same unit price as blocks: useful for when you have lots of people round and need to put on a cheap meal.

  11. “British supermarkets only sell flawless vegetables.”

    In terms of superficial appearance, that is true, but the taste of supermarket produce is generally bland to non-existent to awful. Even their premium ranges of products are pretty tasteless. Supermarkets cater for a consumer who has no idea what a carrot or a tomato or a pear should taste like and they are often offered for sale when brick hard, under ripe and colourless.

    Ironically, the best time for most supermarket veg is probably a good week past the sell by date, provided it has been kept out the fridge to enable it to properly ripen and be softened by bugs etc.

    I can get far better, far cheaper and more ripe from my local greengrocers’.

  12. Bravefart>

    I reckon you’re kidding your’self into thinking the greengrocer’s’ have better s’tuff. They mostly buy the stuff Tesco rejects, from the same supply chain.

    Contrarily, the supermarkets a) have got a lot better recently, the whole ‘perfect-looking veg’ thing having passed its peak about 15 years ago, and b) do have some nice fruit and veg at the top end, but you have to pay for it.

    Maybe you have a local greengrocer who stocks only the very top end produce – and I’ll bet you pay even more for the range of nice stuff, into the bargain.

  13. Bravefart>

    In terms of superficial appearance, that is true, but the taste of supermarket produce is generally bland to non-existent to awful. Even their premium ranges of products are pretty tasteless.

    Because the producers have bought into the low-salt bollocks. Is it any wonder that the food is bland? My daughter no longer eats Heinz Spaghetti Hoops (a childhood favourite) because “they don’t taste like they used to”.

  14. Dave

    I dont’ think what you say is true, at least for me. I live in central Edinburgh and have 6 greengrocer’s nearby, all of which get their stuff from a central market from which none of the supermarket’s do as far as I’m told. The greengrocer’s’s stuff is cheaper and better and you dont’ have to wait 3 weeks’ for their tomato’s etc to be edible. They are not “artisan” or “organic” greengrocers’ either. We have them too, but they are much more expensive

  15. BF>

    Where do you think the central market gets its supply from, though? There is the odd specialist around, but almost all of the produce on sale in one wholesale market is also on sale in another wholesale market – that’s pretty much a necessity given the scale of things.

    I’d hazard a guess that the reason for a) the greengrocer being cheaper and b) their stuff being ready to eat sooner is that the produce hits the main wholesale markets at about the same time it becomes available to the major supermarkets, then takes a week or two to get to the relatively minor wholesale market in Scotland and then to your local shop – by which time the price and shelf-life are both reduced.

    Incidentally, with stuff like tomatoes people often miss one of the differences between most greengrocers and a supermarket: the produce in the supermarket is chilled for longer life, and if you don’t let it warm up before eating it, of course it tastes worse than vegetables that have been allowed to come up to room temperature.

  16. Dave

    Is there not a huge importation by supermarkets of fruit and veg direct from outside the UK. Much of the fruit and veg on sale in supermarkets here never hits any UK market at all. It is packaged outside the UK and delivered direct to the retailers.

    Lidl blood oranges for example, which is a current issue. My wife buys them from Lidl pre packaged and I buy from the greengrocers’ cheaper than Lidl and I get to select the individual orange’s I want

  17. My brother used to run a greengrocer’s, and three times a week he’d be up at 6am driving around the local farms to buy produce. When the owner retired he considered buying him out but decided not to as he was getting fewer and fewer customers 9-5, more were wanting to turn up at 5-7 on the way home while he was wanting to get home to a family life himself after having already been up for nearly 12 hours.

  18. BF>

    “Is there not a huge importation by supermarkets of fruit and veg direct from outside the UK.”

    Yes, but they’re largely buying from the same mass-market suppliers as supply the wholesale markets – or if not the same, then ones indistinguishable.

    I guess it’s possible that your local is a very rare exception due to a serendipitous conjunction of a host of factors that gives it a hospitable-but-very-small niche – but the vast majority of greengrocers are not like that, because they can’t be. JGH’s brother’s setup simply doesn’t work in any reasonably large city.

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