Eli5 why do supermarkets wrap fruit and veg in plastic when they have their own protective layering?


Eli5 why do supermarkets wrap fruit and veg in plastic when they have their own protective layering?

In: 4

It makes them last much longer, having a longer shelf life means the store can stock more of it without it going bad, which increases sales and reduces waste.

Human hands are filthy. Fruit are protected against the things that happen as they grow, but once they’re ripe they can decay quickly. People handling fruit/veggies will bruise some, leave yeasts and bacteria on the surface which will happily start to digest the food. As the plants wilt, the natural protection breaks down too, making them more vulnerable.
It’s also add protection during transport. Fruit might be fine on the tree, but not so much in a box shaken around for days.

So mostly the packaging protects the food from contamination and damage. It doesn’t spoil so quickly.

In part it’s also because some people don’t like the thought of others having handled their food already, and prefer things to be wrapped (at least in a self-serve supermarket).

And some things need a container, not necessarily plastic, but *something.* You can’t really offer loose raspberries at a supermarket, they’ll be squashed as people try to pick them up. Fragile berries like that are usually packaged into their little containers right at harvest.

Plastic packaging have several advantages:

1) it’s hygienic, because even if an ass scratching booger picker touches the fruit you’ll going to take, the fruit itself won’t be “contaminated”.

2) it can preserve the fruit for longer. Some fruits starts to decay when exposed to some molecules emited by other fruits (ethylene on apple for example), and by having them in a plastic wrap, you avoid your fruits to be in contact with other fruits, meaning that they will rot slower.

3) It’s safer for the shop. Let’s say that you are a shop selling two kinds of Granny apple, one is significantly pricier than the other, and the only difference between the twos is a brand sticker on one of the two apples. Well an bad intended person, or a non attentive customer/cashier could confuse one for the other, and the shop could lose quite some money in the process. By having the fruits wrapped, you add a security so you sell your fruits at their intended price.

People dont buy (or more accuratly buy less) fruit and vegs if the protective layering looks anything else but perfect even if the edible part isnt affected at all. So shops put protections around it because they can sell more.

You would be surprised to visit a European market. Yes, you do have some which are packaged, but most is not wrapped.