When Good Packaging Goes Bad
Tonight we had a nice pork tenderloin for supper, served with a popular brand of unsweetened applesauce. After the plastic bottle in which the applesauce was sold was cleaned out using a soup spoon, I noted that a fair amount was still left behind, hiding in the irregular contours of the container. It's one of those ones with ridges behind the label, hand holds on the side and a cone-shaped indent in the bottom.
Out of curiosity, I weighed the container (94 grams), washed it out, and re-weighed it (42 grams). That means that somewhere around 52 grams of applesauce eluded consumption. Looking on the USDA nutrient database, I see that 1 cup of unsweetened applesauce weighs 244 grams, on average. That means that 52/244 or nearly 3 1/2 tablespoons of applesauce was paid for and unused.
Now, that may not sound like a lot by itself, but since it was a 625 mL container, that means about 8% of the contents was wasted. In other words, every time that I use applesauce sold in this particular plastic bottle, the package design encourages me to throw out nearly 25 cents worth of product.
According to the Food Marketing Institute*, the average American family spends $92.50 per household per week on food. That comes out to about $4,800 a year. If you wasted 8% of that total, each year you would be throwing away $384. I don't know about you, but I could sure use that kind of change.
How about you? Do you have an example of packaging that leads to wasted contents? If so, the tell me about it in a comment, below.
* The FMI conducts programs in research, education, industry relations and public affairs on behalf of its 1,500 member companies, food retailers and wholesalers in the United States and around the world.