Egg McMuffin and blended coffee thing –> to the tune of $7. (sigh)
Now, if you read about last week’s grocery run where I got $142.78 of groceries for just $10.44, you can understand why I almost had a heart attack I as passed that $10 bill thru the window to the young lady. $7 for one, not so healthy, meal is what I get for clowning around this morning! (double sigh).
It reminds me of something I shared with my Tupperware team a few years ago…and it still applies today – grab your cup of coffee (home brewed, I hope!) and enjoy the article, I would love to give credit for it, but it was in my piles of files from over 20 years of Tupperware
Would you pay someone $75 an hour to slice apples for you?
How about $160 an hour to shred cheese?
It may sound outrageous, but according to Linda Vaughan, chair of Arizona State University’s department of nutrition, that’s exactly what you’re doing when you buy shredded cheese or pre-sliced apples. “When you choose convenience, it comes with a price,” she says. As part of a research project sponsored by the Arizona Republic, Vaughan and student researchers purchased both raw ingredients and prepared foods to see how they stacked up. By comparing the extra cost of ready-to-eat food to the time it took to make the same thing from raw ingredients, they could determine what buyers are actually paying for the preparation. (For example, a pound of shredded cheddar cheese costs $10, while a pound block of cheddar cheese costs $6 and takes 1.5 minutes to grate by hand. So you’re paying the equivalent of $4 for 1.5 minutes of work — or $160 an hour.)
No surprises. Not surprisingly, the research suggested that consumers often pay a hefty premium for convenience, even though it’s not always that convenient. Still, the costs vary widely, making some foods a better buy than others.
In addition to the high hourly costs for shredded cheese and pre-sliced apples, some of convenience foods you’ll pay the biggest premiums for include sliced celery, at $49.02 per hour and cheese sticks, at $43.33 per hour. Prepackaged meat and cheese lunches may take some of the work out of preparing a midday meal, but testers found it took less than three minutes to prepare a similar lunch without the extra convenience, and the extra cost worked out to be about $20 an hour.
That’s not to say all convenience foods aren’t worth the price. On the other hand, packaged, precut broccoli is more expensive than a head of the vegetable, but the cost for the precutting works out to just $1.80 an hour. Store it in the Fridgesmart container, and you’re set for quite awhile!
For microwave pancakes you’ll pay the equivalent of $2.97 an hour over the cost of regular pancake mix and $6 per hour for sliced, canned potatoes compared to raw ones. It also costs $6 an hour for the convenience of precut watermelon, and the premium for bagged lettuce works out to $13.47 an hour.
One interesting finding was that “convenient” didn’t always mean “time-saving.”
“We bought a package of chicken teriyaki, which took us about 20 minutes to make, but making it from scratch only took about 30 minutes,” says Vaughan. Remarkably, making homemade shrimp linguine was both faster and cheaper than the prepackaged version. In other words, buyers paid a premium for a convenience food that turned out not to be any more convenient.