Pre-packaged supermarket goods: how they’re costing you extra at the checkout

The plastic bag war is underway, but is there another battle we should be fighting to reduce plastic use, and our bills?

It’s only been a matter of days since supermarket giants Coles and Woolies ditched single use plastic bags at the checkout, but already they have been followed by the likes of IGA, Baker’s Delight and women’s fashion store Noni B who have all announced they have stopped offering single use plastic bags in their stores.

And while the war on plastic bags in supermarkets has begun to gain momentum — it might be time to start an assault on pre-packaged goods. According to Consumer Campaigner Christopher Zinn, we are paying a premium for the ease of buying items pre-packaged.

9Saver Tip: Check out more ways to ditch plastic and cut costs in our guide: 13 smart ways to cut the cost of grocery shopping

“Quite simply there is a cost of convenience and the more packaging there is around fruit and vegetables – the more you’re likely to pay for it,” Zinn told Nine News.

In an age where time is of the essence, even our grocery bills are increasing to ensure life is as efficient as possible.

In fact, fruit and vegetables in our supermarkets are now costing up to 60% more with packaging. And given the fact that many of us are embracing the plastic bag ban, is it packaging that we don’t even want anyway?

“By buying loose, the consumer doesn’t spend money unnecessarily and there’s not waste. And really its waste that’s a big drama for consumers, they don’t like throwing things away,” Grocer Leo Parthenos told Nine News.

It could be argued that we are throwing away the 15 cents we are now being charged per reusable plastic bag by supermarket giants, Woolworths and Coles. The big retailers are set to make around $71million in profit.

It certainly adds an extra sting to some to the already pricey process of searching for the best quality fruit and veg.

Because if you think you’re paying more for the convenience of packaging, you’re often absolutely right.

Take green beans; if you buy them loose, you can pay around three dollars per kilo. Buy them packaged, the price shoots up to $12.50 per kilo.

White cup mushrooms come in around $11 a kilo loose, but can be $20 dollars a kilogram packaged.

Nine News even found Truss Tomatoes to be $3.30 MORE per kilogram when packaged instead of purchased loose.

“It doesn’t take more than a few seconds to compare the fresh as opposed to the packaged items, the savings can often be there and more importantly, you get to touch it and smell it and that makes shopping a lot less boring,” Zinn said.

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