Green bags, brown bananas

Frugal living blog Squawkfox does a straightforward experiment to test the claims made for food preservation bags.

Food Waste Experiment: Are Debbie Meyer Green Bags worth it?

“Save money by eliminating waste.” That’s the claim that first caught my eye when I picked up a box of Debbie Meyer Green Bags. Who doesn’t want to “prolong the life” of produce by stickin’ it in a pretty green bag designed to remove the ethylene gas that accelerates rotting? Easy.

But do they really work?

In one corner (of my refrigerator) I lovingly bagged and stored a wide variety of fruits and vegetables in those expensive Debbie Meyer Green Bags. In the other corner I zipped and sealed a complementary produce stash in comparably sized Ziploc Freezer Bags.

After 22 days of refrigerating broccoli, apples, lemons, carrots and parsley, and storing bananas on my counter, I harvested these ripened results…

Tip: @PharmacistScott on Twitter

Her conclusion? She wants a refund. The Debbie Meyer Green Bags cost $0.67 per bag compared to Ziploc Freezer Bags for $0.10 a piece. The Green bags did not perform any better than the cheaper ones but neither helped very much. The author also concluded that the best way to save money is to plan your use of perishable foods.

Skepticism is an important part of consumer protection issues. Many consumer products offer big claims that sound to good to be true. Simple tests like this one on such products are easy ways to show the world the claims ARE too good to be true.

Check out the link to the Squawkfox blog to see pictures of the results. Yeah… moldy bananas.

Tip: I store my lettuce heads in a ziploc bag with the corners snipped off for air circulation. Keeps it from rotting. But don’t believe me, do the tests yourself.

  5 comments for “Green bags, brown bananas

  1. Fastmover01
    July 18, 2012 at 11:52 AM

    She could have saved the steps and called me. Learned this lesson 3 years ago when they came out.

  2. LovleAnjel
    July 18, 2012 at 2:09 PM

    Wrap the bottom of the lettuce head in damp paper towel then put in an open bag – leaves stay turgid and rotting is lowered.

    Skepticism + Frugality = Awesomeness

  3. Caraleisa
    July 18, 2012 at 2:16 PM

    I had exactly the same experience with my first – and only – purchase of the ‘green bags’. Worthless.

  4. Geoff
    July 18, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    Sounds dirty!

  5. Vin
    July 21, 2012 at 5:29 PM

    Yeah….I’ll put my faith in anecdote…..NOT very scientific (though I can see where her frustrations come from, the entire worldwide marketing machine is ILL). Maybe we have a different brand here in Oz (our consumer watchdog, the ACCC, seem to actually try to do their job here and they manage to keep most, if not all, rubbish claims and straight-out-untrue marketing out of Australian supermarkets etc), but, I can say with TOTAL anecdotal certainty that the version we have over here works really well, especially if you live in the Tropics and don’t/can’t refrigerate your fruit & veg……they make the fruit & veg last WAY longer, in that the fruit or veg doesn’t ‘sweat’ while in these bags, they also seem to have a talent for ripening fruit really nicely (ie they actually ripen instead of just sweat/rot in the Tropical heat)…….besides, if you ARE keeping fresh fruit and veg in a bag for 2 weeks then you are not really eating how you should be and may want to examine your eating habits.

    PS. I also have worked on a large Banana Farm here in Oz and I have to say that she couldn’t have picked a WORSE fruit to use as an example…..bananas are NOTORIOUSLY unhandleable and lettuce isn’t much better.

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