9 Supermarket Things It’s Better Not to Be Fooled by to Get Quality Products
When grocery shopping, we all want to get tasty and fresh food. However, many producers and retailers are concentrated on their profit and try to use different ways to sell us illiquid goods. For example, did you know that putting a lot of herbs into a ready-made salad helps to disguise expired ingredients? Shoppers are becoming more and more attentive and revealing new tricks of dishonest retailers.
Bright Side collected a few tips that can prevent you from falling prey to grocery store fraud and ensure you’ll always be happy about the goodies you buy.
1. Avoid repackaged items.
Try to avoid buying individually packaged foods that were sliced or prepared in the deli (cold cuts, cheese or vegetable platters, marinades, fruit, etc.) It’s highly probable that these foods are expired or are just about to expire.
The date of packaging won’t tell you anything in this case, because stickers with this information can be changed several times a day. Even fresh food in this packaging immediately attracts a lot of bacteria, that’s why it’s better to either ask someone in the deli to cut and pack your food in front of you, or to choose factory-packaged goods.
2. Be alert in the deli department.
When buying ready-made salads, pay attention to salads that have a lot of garlic and spice or fresh herbs: this is how they try to disguise expired goods. When choosing a salad, remember that salads with meat or fish expire faster than vegetable ones, and salads with oil dressing are safer than salads dressed with mayonnaise.
It’s better to choose salads without dressing that can be stored up to 2 days. In order to be completely safe, you can check the shop and see if they observe safety measures for working with food. Here are some of them:
- a ready-made salad should be stored in a glass dish (it easily gets oxidized in a metal dish) in a separate display case;
- every dish has a separate spoon;
- a shop worker wears disposable gloves when touching food.
3. Check the condition of the packaging.
Rumpled sides, deformations, cracks, smashed cardboard with traces of dried liquid — these are not just “cosmetic defects.” Any damage can be a sign of wrong storage, carriage in the wrong conditions, and even expiration.
4. Use your opportunity to carefully examine the goods.
Shop workers know perfectly how to showcase their goods from the best side. Your task is to see what’s hidden. For example, lighting in meat display cases makes everything looking fresh and mouth-watering. Ask a shop worker to take a piece that you liked out and look at it yourself: it may look different under normal light.
The same can be applied to frozen foods: don’t buy foods with a lot of ice glaze on them. In the majority of cases, this means that the goods were frozen and defrosted many times, and this may be dangerous for your health. It’s also difficult to visually estimate what’s hidden under the glaze.
Try to avoid stereotypes many people avoid buying meat with a dry film on top because they think it’s old. However, that only means that this meat has had contact with air and wasn’t covered by plastic wrap. If a piece of meat looks too wet, it means that shop workers tried to “refresh” it by pouring water over it, which will make the meat less juicy once it’s cooked.
5. Beware of bright goods.
It’s nice to look at bright colors and they are associated with bright flavors. But this rule doesn’t always work with food. For example, fruit and vegetables grown in open ground normally have a dull peel color, spots, and other imperfections even though they are healthy and tasty. Fruits that were grown in greenhouses are beautiful and attractive, but they may contain chemicals.
Many people think that the brighter some cheese is, the more fat it contains and the better its taste is. But natural cheese is always white or yellowish. Bright yellow color is only achieved by adding coloring. In the majority of cases, this is a harmless color additive made of annatto tree seeds but bright color is still not a criterion for choosing good cheese.
The bright color of salmon can be achieved by using a chemical coloring. Another example is ketchup and other sauces. Even though we are always attracted to bright jars, it’s better to choose sauces of natural colors. It means that they were made from natural components.
6. Don’t be lazy, look around for the goods you need.
In order to sell more expensive goods and get more profit, retailers put them on the most noticeable shelves — at the level of a buyer’s eyes, in the middle part of the display case. These products are recognizable because of advertising, but it doesn’t mean that they are made of quality ingredients.
In order to minimize loss because of expired goods, shop workers move the goods that are going to expire soon closer to the edge of the display case. The conclusion is easy: don’t be lazy. Reach for the back of the shelves in order to buy fresher and better quality goods.
7. Understand the labels, literally.
This means that terms like “milky” or “lactiferous” are used because the ingredients aren’t “real.” The manufacturer wasn’t trying to give them a “cuter” or a more “scientific” name. These “milkys”, “cheese-ohs”, “yogos”, and other weird names are meant to disguise and sell a cheap, low-quality equivalent of a real product.
Don’t think that signs like “no sugar added,” “no cholesterol,” “enriched with vitamins,” and others are a sign of quality. In fact, “no sugar added” means “contains a lot of chemical sweeteners,” and things that contain a lot of vitamins are not always good.
8. Choose local goods.
Sometimes we skip necessary information thinking it might be false advertising. For example, it’s necessary to check if the product was locally sourced. It’s an important criterion when choosing fruits, vegetables, and dairy products.
It’s better to buy locally-sourced goods because long transportation and possible violations of carriage conditions can influence their taste and quality.
9. Ask shop workers for their advice.
It’s easy to arrange goods on shelves in a tricky way, but it’s not so easy to lie to a customer. Use your chance to ask a shop worker about the necessary goods — where you can find them, how fresh they are, and when the next batch will arrive. Even if the shop worker tries to lie to you, you’ll probably notice it, and draw your own conclusions.
To sum it all up, we should say that it’s necessary to choose your foods smartly and with excitement. Don’t forget that shop workers will do anything possible to make you buy their goods. However, if you’re a little bit more attentive, only the tastiest and the healthiest food will appear on your table.
What are your tricks for choosing the best products in the grocery store?