For some years I have been buying packs of frozen berries from Sainsburys- great for desserts and more importantly putting into my morning porridge to make it more colourful and interesting as well as adding some vitamin C.
This week I was faced with a problem which made me really mad. The simple plastic bags are being replaced with …yes … a plastic box, a cellophane seal and a paperboard wrapper AND they take up twice the space in my freezer. So I cant stock up as no space. My initial complaint to @sainsburys resulted in a link to their packaging reduction policy #epicfail there twitter person so a spot of sarcasm resulted in an enquiry to the technical team.
It transpires that the new packaging is for quality control. What ? These berries are frozen they are not going to crush and if they did would taste just the same. Please don’t tell me customers have been asking for this?? If you have confess now please.
I have asked whether the same boxes will be used for frozen peas but no response yet.
Plastic bag versus box and sleeve
The cynic in me says wait for them to either reduce the weight of the pack or increase the price to cover the cost of the excess packaging. In the meantime it is costing the earth and increasing the amount of plastic boxes going to landfill.
As I am currently disenchanted with the big boy local supermarkets (yes that means you Sainsburys , Tesco and Morrisions) I decided to respond to a catalogue that came with The Sunday Times (yes that middle class missive we can spend hours reading at the weekend rather than doing chores or getting out for a walk) The catalogue was for all things Lidl…the store we loved to hate when it proposed building a tin can monstrosity in our previous Surrey surburbia. I was also tempted by some biscuits I had eaten at a coffee morning recently … They came from the local branch and were very good indeed; as well as encouraged by others who said the fresh produce was good quality and value.
So off I trekked to the Newhaven Industrial Estate with my list of pickles (thought they would be good being a European brand) and Christmas goodies based on marzipan and ginger as seen in the catalogue.
My first challenge was to find a pound coin for the trolley then undeterred I set off to check out the aisles. Mysterious brands of tea coffee etc but no porridge oats -clearly not popular in Europe.
As had been suggested the fresh veggies were very reasonable but not as much choice as I am used to and some things prepacked in bigger sizes than I wanted , but did buy a nice big swede for £1 which is probably half the price of Sainsburys. Butter, cheese and milk all seemed cheaper , bacon was a no go as not marked British so I could only assume this was not the High welfare I wanted. Also bought some large jars of passata which Sainsburys simply does not stock despite my moaning tweets.
However the stars of the store were the Christmas goodies, mini stollens, ginger cookies dipped in chocolate and a whole range of pickles at very good prices. I also bought a big pack of uncooked frozen Greenland prawns so I am all set for some Christmas love now. Incidentally if we were keen on vension I would buy the controversial reindeer steaks too!
Nearly fell at the last fence on checkout when I discovered you have to pay cash or debit card- no credit cards allowed here. Probably a good thing meaning customers can only buy what they can really afford.
Will I go again- yes when I run out of pickles but sadly they do not have the range of things I want to eat such as whole wheat pasta, ryvita and nut milks ( nor Persil non bio for my sensitive skinned partner!)
In the meantime I will spread my custom and love around the butcher, fishmonger and Co-op which are within walking distance and drive to the nearest farm stall / visit Sainsbury’s a couple of times a month. I am fortunate that I have time to go to this trouble, it would be so much easier to get it all from one place.