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Ducks and Salad Bags: Farmers Market vs. Sainsbury’s

sainsburys florette salad

Blackheath Farmers market salad = £2.10 = 135g
1.56p per gram
typical life 7 days

Sainsbury’s Florette mixed salad = £1.49 = 200g
0.745p per gram
typical life 3 days

The farmer’s market looks much more expensive, right? Except that how often do you buy a bag of salad from a supermarket, that looks crispy and fresh on the first day, and becomes limp and brown on the second day? An unnamed person at the farmer’s market told me:

We do sell to the supermarkets, but by the time it gets to your fridge, even though it says fresh on the label, it can be 7 days old.

Supermarket salad is kept fresh looking by using a “protective atmosphere” inside the bag. The air in the bag has different levels of carbon dioxide, oxygen, and nitrogen, to slow the speed at which the bacteria can grow. So after it is opened, it suddenly starts to act its age! Felicity Lawrence’s book Not on the Label is a great place to read more about this.

Also, the salad shown in the top photo lasts the two of us for most of a week. So we can buy the amount that we need, not the amount the supermarket wants to sell. I should point out that I didn’t compare to the cheapest Sainsbury’s salad bag (0.74p per gram), because the taste of the salad isn’t comparable. The one from the farmer’s market tastes amazing, is organic, and lasts a week!

Sainsbury's parsley

Farmer’s Market Flat Leaf Parsley = 170g = £1
0.59p per gram
Lasts 7 days

Sainsbury’s Flat Leaf Parsley = 28g = 79p
2.82p per gram
Lasts 5 days

The parsley is much more of a bargain. We get loads of parsley each week, so Sainsbury’s can’t compete here. The parsley is from the “hello duck” stall. I like them. Nobody calls me duck in a supermarket.

I compared to Sainsbury’s because it’s my nearest supermarket, and it isn’t massively up-market. It’s worth pointing out that other processed foods in the farmer’s market aren’t such a bargain, but staples, veg, and unprocessed foods really can work out much cheaper.

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