One tweet launched the debate of the year. Nathalie Gordon of London tweeted, “if only nature would find a way to cover these oranges so we didn’t need to waste so much plastic on them.”
As a mom (and a consumer!), I can tell you four reasons why I can get behind the unpeeled, prepackaged movement.
- Kids Hate Delayed Gratification. We’re told to involve our kids in the process of preparing their food, so that they’ll be more likely to eat it. That means gauging interest, sparking ideas, and offering samples. If I ask my kiddo what she thinks about bananas for breakfast, she’s going to want a banana RIGHT NOW. That leaves me two options: Tell her no, deal with the tantrum, and let her hash out her banana hatred in therapy down the line, or pick up a bunch, hand her one, and ask the cashier to weigh one of the bananas twice, which is arguably going to short one of us since the likelihood of two bananas weighing the exact same is about the same as both my kids eating the same food for dinner. And before you hate on me for not teaching my kids to wait, please picture your hangriest self, then take away your ability to act as an adult, add in a long day of running, climbing, and playing, and then tell me why you wouldn’t lose it that you could have one freaking piece of fruit please mom.
- I Hate Growing Grocery Costs. Grocery stores are businesses, and as such, deserve to display their products without fear of them disappearing, and yet, one Whole Foods insider tells us that “in general, ANYTHING edible that is loose is going to have shrinking issues.” (That’s code for there’s more missing from the bins than what we’ve sold, aka, sampling, aka, stealing. And yes, it is stealing!) He continues, “Bagged or cut and peeled fruit is going to help.” Maybe they just got tired of finding bits of peel hidden all around the store.
- Kids Love Novelty. I can debate all day with you about whether or not kids need to have their palates pandered to, but sometimes you’re just thankful to get a fruit, vegetable, protein, insert-your-kid’s-vice-here inside them. Why do you think apples recently got the Star Wars treatment?Jazzy packaging works. The fact that I could tell my kids that those oranges are nudie-patooties is going to make them laugh, and agree to eat them. Same with why pre-sliced apples are a winner at the dinner table, but not apples that I actually slice. In front of them. Our insider agrees, “As a dad, I will say that the bagged tangerines have some sort of magical power over kids. They love them.”
- It’s a Teaching Moment. Every moment with kids is a teaching moment and, before you ask, yes, that is exhausting, but it’s also wonderful. My kids were enamored when I first cut into a grapefruit. My daughter was convinced it was an orange, even after seeing its ruby center, and insisted on eating it segment by segment because, by golly, it if it looks like an orange and peels like an orange… The sour faces were epic. Displaying cut fruit takes away some of the mystery of what’s inside and makes it more, dare I say it, appealing. When volunteering with nutrition programs in schools, I’ve found some children don’t know what a tomato looks like whole, or even what a mango is. Whole Foods is taking away some of the mystery and showing what’s inside, and any parent will tell you that, while the war may rage on, that’s one battle victory we can claim.
The main reason for the uproar? The waste. Why unpackage a product by peeling it only to dump it in a plastic container?
I can guarantee you that we will cherish that plastic container. It will hold tonight’s leftovers, then be washed, dried, colored, adorned with stickers, and used as a hat before it heads to the recycling bin. And when the alternative is cracking open a box of cookies when I’m waiting in like at 5:36 and the kids wanted to eat exactly six minutes ago, I’m going to be thrilled to offer them pieces of orange as we wait in our double-car grocery cart. Anything for an extra shot of vitamin C!
Looking for more ways to get fruit into your family’s diet? Check out our 5 favorite fruit hacks!