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Posts Tagged ‘packaging’

FRIDAY FOOD THING

I am a bacon aficionado. I have no scruples opening up those cardboard sample windows on every package of bacon in the grocery store cooler until I find one that has a conspicuous absence of fat. Or, carving away the fat from within purchased packages and returning it (the fat) to the store from which I purchased the bacon. “See this?” I pleasantly explain at the Customer Service counter while dangling my Ziplock bag of pork fat . “Six ounces of FAT in a sixteen-ounce package of premium bacon!”

Since I rarely get an acceptable response other than personal agreement, I have come up with my own explanation as to what’s really going on with bacon:

  1. Pigs are getting  fatter.
  2. Packaging technologies are getting better at displaying only what manufacturers want us to see.

Browsing the processed meats display cooler (one of the most heavily trafficked areas in any grocery store) for a great-looking package of lean bacon is difficult. There are so many different types of bacon, hot dogs, sausage, scrapple and assorted meats shoved into the same display area that’s it difficult to tell which item tag belongs to which item. Bad design: time consuming, frustrating and confusing within a crowd of people vying for space while checking out the goods, especially when I am not the only one peeking through the clear plastic window of each and every one to make sure that the particular package does indeed contain bacon rather than pork fat.

Sometimes, a line of shopping carts pile up such that the patrons trapped in-between cannot even move, moreover browse the bologna labeling. As a result, savvy shopping cart drivers often park their carts in nearby aisles in an attempt to avoid the gridlock, resulting in mini-traffic jams all over the store.

I think it would make sense for bacon manufactures to package bacon with a representational slice clearly visible through the front window of the packaging and to remove the cardboard flaps altogether from the rear side of the packaging. Who wants to buy a package of bacon with an already torn open cardboard window pane anyhow?

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I really hate the new kind of plastic packaging, the indestructible type that is heat-vacuum-shrunk around the purchased item; the type whose packaging design offers no means of opening it short of using a hacksaw. The plastic itself is so thick it is impossible to tear or pry apart. And I know that even if I am somehow able to slip a finger in-between the plastic joins, I run a very real risk of severing a digit or two on the wickedly sharp edges.  Every time I cautiously approach one of these packages, I wonder how many finger-related law suits have been filed.

Since kitchen shears are no help at all, I decided to purchase an inexpensive pair of tin snips. But when I found the pair of industrial-grade snips I wanted at my local Lowes Home Center — you guessed it — they were tightly cocooned in an impenetrable spent-plutonium plastic diaper.

“Would you please open this package for me?” I asked the checkout person after purchasing the snips. “My fingers aren’t what they used to be and I’d like to keep them that way.”

The cashier slipped her own pair of tin snips from under the counter. Snip, snip. A couple of dangerous daring finger maneuvers, and the metal snips separated from the packaging. She made it look so easy. “There you go sir. Works like a champ.”

They must. She still had all of her fingers.

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