The price to slice – should we pay supermarkets to slice our produce?

The price to slice

price to slice

Just a short post today. This afternoon, I was carefully doing my grocery shopping (sticking to the list, of course!!). Whilst darting purposefully from shelf to shelf, I saw someone with pre-sliced carrots in their basket. No big deal, huh?

Strangely, it REALLY annoyed me! To me (completely over-dramatically) it represented everything about the public’s inability to make smart financial decisions. How hard is it to pick up a knife people? Seriously? Ok, time to calm down…

But, it got me thinking. Every supermarket now sells EVERYTHING already sliced, chopped, diced, grated or peeled already for you and charges you for the pleasure.

This seems crazy, but the supermarkets keep selling and the consumer keeps filling up the basket with them.

cheap inventor professional Let’s have a look at a comparison of some everyday products to determine the actual price to slice:

cheap inventor professional  

Price to slice cost


An average mark-up of 101% to save you getting out a knife.


Should we buy ready prepared?

Based on the cost, no. But, can anyone explain to me why you would do this?

The only argument I can think of is time-saving and the monetary value of time.

For instance, to peel and cut 500 grams of carrots maybe takes 5 minutes. From the figures above, this means that you are valuing your time at £12.84 per hour. Therefore, I suppose that if you can prove that you can generate more than £12.84 in income per hour, and in the time you would be usually cutting carrots, then it’s worthwhile to buy ready sliced.


What do you guys think? Waste of money or a good way to save time?


* Interesting to note that sliced bread IS the best thing since sliced bread!!

32 thoughts on “The price to slice – should we pay supermarkets to slice our produce?

  1. First of all, I absolutely LOVED how you broke all of this down to figure out logically the ‘why’ behind why in the World people choose to buy these in the first place.

    I think the same thing when I go to the grocery store! Plus, I feel like once I cut something up, it will go bad faster if I don’t use it quickly. I like my fruits and veggies in tact thank you! :p

    Granted, I truly believe most people do not realize how much more they are paying for pre-sliced produce, but I have to say, if I was debt free with a large passive income coming in each month, I may get some pre-sliced produce every once in awhile. Why not indulge?

    Glad to see that I’m not the only one this strikes a nerve with! 🙂
    Leslie recently posted…The Worst Kind of ThiefMy Profile

    • Thanks Leslie. I was completely against it and I didn’t even think about the pre-prepared fruit & veg going off quicker as well!

      I’m personally debt free and have a passive income, but I can think of about a trazillion things to indulge on instead of this. Like, you know, ANYTHING else. 🙂

  2. I think sometimes it comes down to how much you’re going to use. If you’re just you (or even two people) and want some fresh fruit salad, are you going to buy a watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, bag of grapes, a pineapple, and lb of strawberries? No way. Most of it would go bad before you could eat it all. So you indulge occasionally and buy a prepared fruit salad every once in a while (for us, when it’s BOGO). Eating single serving fruit (apples, bananas, pears, etc) can get boring and every once in a while we get the fruit salad as a treat. By having them do the work, the treat ends up being less wasteful and thus less expensive.
    Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies recently posted…PoP Balance Sheet – August 2013My Profile

  3. I can hear my mother growling at me! She is the ultimate penny-pincher and never buys anything pre-sliced for the very reasons you suggest. Bottled water is her favorite rant.

    Of the list you presented the mashed potatoes seem like the best trade-off between time and money. You have to peel the potatoes, boil, and mash them. The markup on the carrots is almost comical.
    Kevin @ Growing Family Benefits recently posted…Short Term Disability for NursesMy Profile

    • She seems like a good role model!!

      Yeah, I guess so with the mash. However, they are probably loaded with extra butter to make them taste better and salt to preserve them, so we have to think of the health factor as well.

  4. I feel the same way…just pick up a knife, it’s not that complicated. I can kind of see it if you are buying it pre-sliced and eating it right then and won’t have the opportunity to cut it yourself. But I still don’t do this for sanitary reasons. Recently, here in NYC, there was a hepatitis warning at a supermarket because a worker who sliced the fruits had hepatitis. My co-worker bought pre-sliced apples and had an allergic reaction…he thinks that the apples probably weren’t cleaned properly
    Andrew@LivingRichCheaply recently posted…Should We Buy a Co-op?My Profile

  5. Rarely would I buy pre-sliced! To me its an assault on the joys of cooking 🙂 (Big fan). There is something just therapeautic about dicing, slicing, pounding, cutting and doing other kitchen stuff, there is a joy to it and I can almost swear you can feel the love and dedication that have gone into a meal! (just saying)

    Its cheap and fun doing it yourself or doing it with family.
    Simon @ Modest Money recently posted…MBNA Smart Cash MasterCard Review – MBNA Cash Back Credit CardMy Profile

    • I couldn’t agree more Simon. The closer you are to the source, the better everything tastes (at least mentally)!!

      And that is the first time I’ve heard “pounding…in the kitchen” as being therapeutic!! Hahaha….

  6. I guess the consumer is paying for the convenience, especially if one is in a hurry to get a meal on the table. And to be honest, except for a few consumer conscious like yourself, I actually wonder if people give it two thoughts. Those who do, will be non-prepared produce, fruits and vege’s while others will grab what’s right there in front of them. This is obviously what the grocers want and unless everybody stops buying prepared foods, there’s always going to be a “healthy” mark-up for the business.

    Thanks for an interesting post moneystepper and I liked how you broke it down into a “wage” value 🙂

    Take care and all the best.

    Lyle @ The Joy of Simple recently posted…10 Ways to Make Your 9 to 5 Work Day A Little Better Until You Find Your WayMy Profile

    • Thanks for stopping by Lyle and I’m glad you enjoyed the post.

      I don’t really blame the supermarkets as this is clearly something people want. Like you, I just don’t think that people consider the cost of this practically pointless want.

  7. It’s not technically sliced, but I normally buy grated cheese in addition to a block of it. It’s more expensive, but I find that pre-grated cheese lasts far longer in the fridge than a block or personally grated cheese. I think it might be due to them loading it with more preservatives – probably not good for you but definitely convenient when you don’t need to frequently throw out mouldy cheese.
    Financial Independence recently posted…Understanding Diamond PricesMy Profile


    We cook everything from scratch at home and purchase our produce as it is naturally. It doesn’t take too much to slice it, not to mention most of the time it’s more fresh. I have seen sliced apples in small bags. My little experience with this shows that an apple oxidizes in MINUTES where it was cut. So, instead of having it ‘treated’ with various things to keep it fresh, I’d rather pick one up and slice it myself. It’s cheaper and healthier.
    dojo recently posted…Which of the simple money saving ideas can actually work for you?My Profile

  9. Pingback: Carnival of Personal Finance #430: The Double Edition for Dummies

  10. We’re a DIY gang in the kitchen. I’m just too frugal to spend the extra for someone to do something so basic.
    The only time we make an exception is when we travel. When camping, a bag of prewashed mixed lettuce greens is the easiest way to have a salad without proper kitchen. When we’re on holiday in a strange city we often assemble a picnic lunch from items in a grocery store. Sometimes we hit the bakery and deli for buns, meat and cheese. Other times we’ll get a variety of premade salads at the deli and some crackers or bread and pate or dip. We’ve never bought premade fruit salad, instead we all just choose a piece of fruit that doesn’t need cutting or washing (bananas usually).

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