Pre-cut Fruit 101: The WoWs, Worries, And What You Should KnowAntonia Stroe
Whole produce will always cost you less than its pre-cut alternatives. The reason is highly intuitive, as the prep, treatment, and extra(-pretty) wrapping going into that nicely pre-sliced fruit amount to an overall higher cost (according to some sources, as much as three times the original price!).
But is that extra money worth it at the end of the day? We think it isn’t, and we’ll let you know why.
Whole vs. Pre-cut Fruit
The whole vs. pre-cut debate – if we can even call it that – is less about pondering the actual health benefits and more about weighing your day-to-day priorities.
If you really value your dietary choices, the answer is painfully obvious: whole foods (not only fruits but also vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains…) are always the better choice. And not just on a financial basis. If you like to be in control over what you’re purchasing, preparing, and serving on that dinner table, pre-cut must go, and it must do so quickly.
Is it safe to eat pre-cut fruit?
Depending on how we define ‘safe’. Do they pose an immediate threat to your health? Of course not. But in the long run, you’re wasting valuable nutrients, more of the planet’s resources, and possibly the food in itself. Most of us have probably retrieved a spoiled pack of pre-cut peaches from the back of the fridge at some point in our lives.
The Cost of Purchasing Pre-Cut Fruit
While it might be a few minutes faster to toss that pre-cut fruit into a salad as you’re gulping down your daily dose of caffeine at daybreak, you’re simultaneously:
Sacrificing vitamin retention: exposure to heat, oxygen, and light can contribute to significant nutrient loss. You’ll be losing important antioxidant vitamins such as Vitamin C (which is essential to cell health, tissue repair and regeneration, immune function, and many other aspects worth an article of their own).
Cutting storage life: according to this article by Very Well Fit, reduced shelf life is another issue. When the fruit is being sliced up, sugars break down and release carbon dioxide, leading to faster spoilage and changes to its overall taste and texture. To prevent wastage, all pre-cut produce has to be immediately refrigerated, which takes up extra space and may lead to other bad fridge habits.
Exposing yourself to higher risks of contamination. The pretty cut might make you go ‘Yum!’, but you should actually expect exposure to bacteria like salmonella, as the fruit has long lost its protective barrier…Not Yum.
Unnecessary wastage: and once again, since we’ve taken off the fruit’s natural protective barrier, the man-made plastic alternative isn’t exactly environmentally friendly. Mashed explains that plastic isn’t the only concern here, as pre-cut produce “requires processing, packing, and eventually transportation, along with constant refrigeration throughout the entire process, all of which use a lot of energy”.
And really, we said it’s a matter of ‘a few minutes’, but how long does it really take to slice up some fruit? Pre-cut sells you the idea that everything boils down to the time you have on your hands. In truth, slicing up your stuff can be super fun, creative, and a good opportunity to practice brief moments of mindfulness. Because it doesn’t even take that long.
Are you actually ready to spare quality and flavor for the illusion of convenience?
If our brief list had you fidgeting, this article from Mashed might get you seriously reconsidering your next trip to the grocery store’s produce section. We also suggest you take a look at this comprehensive study conducted by Reuse This Bag on all the extra bacteria we’re purchasing together with our groceries.
Our quality of life should be second to none, and this is why we should always strive to know and control both our food sources and prep methods. If you want a solid base for healthier meals, we wholeheartedly recommend wholesale produce.