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Thread: Prepackaged items

  1. #1
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso Dorsetmike's Avatar
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    Prepackaged items

    Catering for one is a problem in these days of prepackaged food, unless one can afford to shop in one of the few establishments left that sell produce loose. Why does it generally cost more to buy a small quantity of loose items, than a larger quantity of the same item prepacked? If the pricing were competitive then we might see more loose goods.

    I no longer buy a loaf of bread, it goes stale before I'm halfway through, I tried splitting it 4 slices to a bag and freezing it but its a PITA to do and don't seem to taste the same when defrosted so I buy part cooked frozen baguettes, 10 minutes at gas Mk 4, allow to cool, add butter ham and pickle - lurvly; I buy a 6 pack of eggs, and maybe use 2 before they go out of date.

    Also why should a small tin of veg or packet dry goods, cost nearly as much as a large one, say half the quantity for about 80% of the price.

    The excuse is usually "well the manufacturing costs are almost the same" since when did a smaller package using less material (tin or card say) cost nearly the same as a larger one? Handling and transport costs" the box or crate of tins/packages contains twice as many items so cost per item must be less!

    Or am I missing something? I have seen such anomolies as a 1 ounce bag of ground almonds at the same price as a 2 ounce bag on the same shelf!
    Cheers MIKE.

    How many roads must a man walk down ... ... before he admits he's lost?

  2. #2
    Duckmeister teddy's Avatar
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    We are lucky that we have several farm shops nearby so you can buy one potato etc if you wish to. You can also go down to the harbour where some of the fishermen will be glad to sell their catch. Come and live in Kent Mike (you would have to change your name of course).

    teddy
    Pining for the South of France

  3. #3
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso Dorsetmike's Avatar
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    Quite a lot of the fresh veg in Tesco is loose, that's not where I find the problem,they also have fresh fish and meat counters, it's things like bread, eggs, tinned veg and items that have short "use" by periods where you would either have to eat the lot within a day or two or bin what you can't use in time, a few things you can freeze, but many lose taste or texture, there are aslo others that you can't freeze.
    Cheers MIKE.

    How many roads must a man walk down ... ... before he admits he's lost?

  4. #4
    Administrator Krummhorn's Avatar
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    Eggs are still okay about two weeks after the 'expiration' date. Those dates are usually the 'must sell by' date ... I mean it's not like the egg turns to sulfer the day after the 'must sell by' date.

    We cook everything from scratch ... seldom buy prepackaged meals ... all the raw ingredients we have/use can be used for multiple dishes. Cooking is fun, and one can be as creative as our digestive systems will allow. The other night, I had leftover spaghetti noodles - chopped the noodles into small pieces, made a simple sauce of diced tomatoes, chicken seasonings, cooked the chicken in oil, added onions, and threw everything into the crock pot for a few hours - scrumptious.

    We have a day old bakery outlet here that we call the 'used bread store' ... it's the bread that has been removed from the regular stores because the 'date' has passed ... the prices is halved, and we buy in bulk and freeze a lot for future use. Left out on the counter to defrost normally seems to work best for us.

    We also purchase beef and chicken in bulk quantities, separate out into 3/4 pound servings, bag and freeze. We put stuff to be frozen in a plastic bin that goes into the freezer, that way the bag itself is not exposed to freezer burn. Cheese does not thaw well at all ... it gets crumbly and looses flavour.

    As for the packaging of smaller items vs larger items, I think the reasoning is that it takes the same amount of labor and materials to produce the containers, not to mention the labor costs involved to change over the packing equipment from one size to another on the production line. The price is higher for the smaller item as they don't sell as many of those as they do in the larger quantity package.

    We ran into that when we bought a new fridge a few years ago ... we wanted a smaller unit, as there are just the two of us at home these days (our kids are grown and well on their own) - the smaller fridge we wanted was $500 more than the larger one ... we took the larger one, which doesn't cost any more to operate than the smaller one. Go figure.

    But I certainly understand your plight, Mike ... one way around it is to make huge dinner dishes and then freeze leftovers for future meals. We do this when I bake a meatloaf - always make a 3 pounder, so we have 2 additional meals for quik dinners later on.

    The kitchen is one of my most favourite places in our house ... I love to cook - always have - and Mary appreciates my abilities as she still works everyday and I am retired (except for my church work).

  5. #5
    Chief assistant to the assistant chief JHC's Avatar
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    Ever heard of refrigerators and deep freezers ???
    I don’t want a signature any more

  6. #6
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso Dorsetmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JHC View Post
    Ever heard of refrigerators and deep freezers ???
    Yes I have and I use both, they have their limitations, I started using a freezer around 1970 give or take a year or so, refrigerator My parents had one before
    WW2 so I've lived with them most of my life.

    Big drawback of freezers is forgetting to take stuff out sufficiently in advance for it to defrost (this problem is increasingly apparent with advancing age!) Microwave defrosting is OK for some things but others I prefer to defrost "naturally". Some things don't freeze well.

    I usually shop once a week, how many people plan their meals sufficiently in advance to know exactly how much/many of an item they will require in a week? I like to have eggs "in stock" but quite often I find a six pack has still got 4 in it a week or two after its date, on rare occasions I have binned an unopened pack. If I could buy 2 or 3 at a time I would waste less.

    Until recently I used to go to a "pick your own" place in midsummer and get 10 -15 pounds of runner beans and spend a couple of days preparing and freezing them, thjey would last me until about the following April/May. The PYO has closed and the nearest one is now some distance away (over 10 miles), plus I ain't so active as I was so it's much less a viable option.

    I do often buy larger "economy" packs of meat and veg to freeze.
    Cheers MIKE.

    How many roads must a man walk down ... ... before he admits he's lost?

  7. #7
    Chief assistant to the assistant chief JHC's Avatar
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    The only draw back is your memory cause you is getting senile! ? <> get a load of pre cooked meals or give some young nubile young wench a roof over her head in exchange for certain favors one and I repeat one of these could be cooking (with a c)
    I don’t want a signature any more

  8. #8
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso Dorsetmike's Avatar
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    Cooking is not a problem for me, I could cook better than both my wives. I like reasonably healthy food including meat, I rarely eat precooked stuff, I don't normally need to, on the few occasions when I'm out for the day I'd rather get a Chinese take out, or go to the chippy. I like meat, but in most precooked package meals the percentage of meat is too low, often well under 20%, which given a typical 350g to 400g pack, 20% means about 70-80g of meat, which is less than 3 ounces, and often quite a bit of that will be fat or "connective tissue" AKA gristle. They are aimed at the type of family that go for convenience foods they can microwave in a few minutes during an advertising break on TV to supplement their intake of sweets, chocolate and crisps(chips in USA). You see a lot of them waddling round these days, so obese they can barely walk.
    Cheers MIKE.

    How many roads must a man walk down ... ... before he admits he's lost?

  9. #9
    Duckmeister teddy's Avatar
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    Eggs should stay fresh for a couple of weeks if keept in the fridge. If I am unsure I just pop them in a bowl of water. If they sink they are fine. If they float at one end they are fine. If they float on the surface I chuck them away.

    teddy
    Pining for the South of France

  10. #10
    Captain of Water Music jvhldb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by teddy View Post
    Eggs should stay fresh for a couple of weeks if keept in the fridge. If I am unsure I just pop them in a bowl of water. If they sink they are fine. If they float at one end they are fine. If they float on the surface I chuck them away.

    teddy
    Got to remember this. I normally I stick them in the fridge and can never remember when I bought them!
    Johan van Heerden

  11. #11
    Chief assistant to the assistant chief JHC's Avatar
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    Most foods can be kept in the deep freeze, ok you forget to date them well you can't safeguard against that....
    I don’t want a signature any more

  12. #12
    Chief assistant to the assistant chief JHC's Avatar
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    Back to the points made by Mike:
    I think with packaging of small quantities the actual packaging is the biggest cost so buy a big one and divide or get tinned.

    A fresh fish will keep for 6 months, pre butchered meat 12 mths, my Vogals bread will keep at least 3-4 mths. Pastry at least 12 mths fresh vegi (peas beans asparagus) and fruit 12 mths. When you are in the sticks and only go to town perhaps once a month you just have to ’deep freeze’ so make a dozen meat pies (for one serving) shove em in the deep freeze and there you have it.
    I don’t want a signature any more

  13. #13
    Duckmeister teddy's Avatar
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    I believe the only thing that you can't freeze are soft fruit such as strawberries, but even those you can make jam with and keep.

    teddy
    Pining for the South of France

  14. #14
    Vice Admiral Virtuoso Dorsetmike's Avatar
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    I've got frozen strawberries and raspberries in the freezer, Lidl sell them, probably other places too, when defrosted they're better suited to trifles or tarts
    Cheers MIKE.

    How many roads must a man walk down ... ... before he admits he's lost?

  15. #15
    Duckmeister teddy's Avatar
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    I think they have to be freeze dried Mike as the attempts we have made over the years with ordinary domestic freezing never came out well. Worst thing was a melon my grandmother put in the freezer. Unedible to say the least.

    teddy
    Pining for the South of France

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