Rachel Achmad

The Inconvenient Truth about Convenience Foods — Supermarket Savvy

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Nearly every night, families reach for ready-to-cook convenience foods, rationalizing that the higher costs is worth the time saved. But just how much time is that, and at what cost? I wondered, especially after a recent article mentioned that convenience foods save just a smidgen of our time.

 

I’ve always stocked my freezer with things like chicken nuggets and veggie burgers, figuring that on busy school nights, instant preparation will provide some relief. Except … I still seem to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. The article really made me curious, so I dug around and uncovered a study done in 2007 by the UCLA Center on Everyday Lives of Families.

 

Researchers observed the mealtime habits of 32 working families and learned that convenience foods only shaved a mere ten minutes off food preparation time. Next, I looked at how much more my convenience foods cost. Take my chicken nuggets: a 12-oz. package is $3.99, or 33 cents per ounce. I can get boneless chicken breast on sale for 1.99 a pound, or 12 cents per ounce. So I am paying 21 cents more per ounce, or $3.36 more per pound, to save myself … ten minutes. Another angle: if I spent ten minutes breading chicken pieces myself, it would cost about half as much — even including the small amount of flour, egg and breadcrumbs I’d need.

 

So, it seems that convenience foods only provide the illusion of saved time. I think the savviest solution is to prepare homemade convenience foods like chicken fingers each weekend for weekday use, to truly save time and money.

 

 

 

Shop smart and save! Check out more tips on couponing and savvy shopping!

 

 

One Response to “The Inconvenient Truth about Convenience Foods — Supermarket Savvy”

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