The grocery chain, Whole Foods, caused a rumbling today when one (or more) of its stores chose to offer peeled whole oranges in a plastic container. It seems petty – but nothing is petty in social media.
The idea of naked oranges in see-through packaging made the public gasp in shock. Non-profits came out of the proverbial woodwork to denounce the practice. Twitter followers retweeted their concerns, and Facebook groups went wild.
I have to admit, my first reaction to the picture of naked oranges in boxes made me wonder why we would do such a thing. It was as logical as selling peeled eggs or pre-baked potatoes in my mind. A waste of money, and a lazy way to eat.
Whole Foods pulled the oranges after they pulled themselves from the rubble.
Looking Beneath the Surface
After seeing the story in a Facebook group and commenting on the ridiculousness of the item, I read the posts of other readers who were excited about it and disappointed that it was pulled. The posters had varying types of disabilities which made the act of peeling an orange difficult and sometimes painful. Some mentioned that they hadn’t eaten a fresh orange for some time. They lived alone and couldn’t peel it. Others spoke of oranges and other foods that came in packages that presented a hurdle of some sort.
It was eye-opening for me.
I had a limited perspective on this topic – and I jumped to a conclusion over its logic. I realized that there are many consumers who don’t have the pleasure of sinking their fingers deep into that bitter orange skin, and pulling apart the juicy sections. They have trouble opening doorknobs and jar lids, holding onto a computer mouse, or hanging onto an ice cream cone.
I was grateful for the lesson. I still disagreed with the packaging – plastic that will hang out in the landfill and defeat the purpose of Mother nature’s lovely original wrapping. The peel itself is divine – ironically, it is now being considered as an alternative material for plastic.
Yes. Plastic from orange peels.
Orange peels also have amazing household uses. Candied orange peels – a league of their own.
But let’s get back to the oranges on stage. The plastic box needs to go, but what could make both sides happy? Grocery stores offer free steaming of seafood, and free slicing of bread. Why not offer free produce peeling for those who are unable to do so themselves, or who want to eat something healthy on the go?
Perhaps a solution: Offer a free peeling service for those who may not be able to peel? Win-win.
It’s worth a mention to your local grocer or food cooperative. A small, customer-friendly service could change the daily lives of many. What do you say?