Hubris

This morning I came across this tweet:


Catherine Noone is an Irish senator and practicing solicitor. This tweet is a good example of something I find myself talking a lot about these days: hubris.

Tesco are an outfit at the end of an extraordinarily complex, technologically advanced, and finely-tuned supply chain which enables farm produce to be freshly available on supermarket shelves in city centres day after day with no interruptions. Looked at in isolation, the entire operation is nothing short of miraculous, an achievement of human endeavour which rivals the space programme.

But the metropolitan middle classes with social science, humanities, and law degrees think they’ve found something wrong with it. For some reason, the global experts in packaging, transport, storage, and retail operating on razor-thin margins have decided to use a few million tonnes of unnecessary plastic. Perhaps it was a decision made late on a Friday night when they all wanted to go to the pub, and never got around to revisiting it? Silly people! They spend millions on computer controlled warehouses, yet they can’t even get their packaging right.

I have the advantage over most of those wringing their hands over food packaging of having actually worked on a large vegetable farm, including a few days in the packing plant. The farm would come to life at about 5 or 6am, everyone would be in the fields picking by 7am, and by 1 or 2pm the first produce would be coming into the yard, some of which would go into the packing plant. Between 2 and 5pm several large lorries from the major supermarkets would pull in, get loaded up, and be off to the distribution centres from where the produce would be sent to all four corners of the UK, where it would appear on shelves at 7am the next morning. One thing I noticed, being a part-time forklift driver, was that clever packaging was essential for rapid loading and unloading. Everything needed to be packed in such a way it could be stacked on a pallet and put on a lorry with a forklift. We used to being loose veg in from the fields in small lorries or with a tractor and trailer, and it was a right pain. This is why we had a packing plant.

If you want just-in-time logistics, you need to pack things properly. Also, as mentioned in this post by someone who knows what they’re talking about, the plastic serves a vital function in keeping the produce fresh. I am sure it is also used to keep moisture and creepy-crawlies out in some instances. Now I don’t know the optimum packing methods to achieve all this, but I think it’s a reasonable assumption that those who have a billion dollars worth of skin in the game have worked it out. The idea that vegetable supply companies use “excess” packaging is so ludicrous only the seriously dim and neo-religious could believe it. And of course, if they removed the packaging there would be uproar about food waste. That campaigns against this imaginary problem have such support is indicative of several things, not least the increasing divide between those who work white-collar jobs in air-conditioned offices in large cities and those who actually make the country function.

In any conversation on this topic, you’ll inevitably get someone – usually a woman with a good salary, nice handbag, and plenty of shoes – smugly state that they buy their vegetables loose from the local organic shop and “they’re perfectly all right”. Which is true, but you’re not going to be able to feed cities of between 2 and 5 million people via small shops filled with bent, muddy, and cracked vegetables chucked in cardboard boxes. Well you could, but not while maintaining the standards of living everyone now demands. These people are the equivalent of the apocryphal American kids who don’t know milk comes from cows.

One of the paradoxes of the population becoming more educated is they seem to know less. The middle classes are increasingly backing trendy causes – gender equality, renewable energy, fuel taxes, carrier bag bans – without having the slightest idea how the world functions beyond their bubble. They’ve never been on a farm, toured a factory, walked through the turbine hall of a working power station, seen the spaghetti-like piping in a refinery, watched a giant crane lift something into place, or stood on a platform built in the middle of a hostile sea to provide the life-blood their society depends on. They don’t know how things are done and who does them. All they know is they’re doing it wrong and they know best. Like I said: hubris.

This won’t end well.

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51 thoughts on “Hubris

  1. You’re dead right Tim.

    It is all a part of the ever widening divide between the establishment metro management class and the rest, the plebs if you like who do stuff and know stuff.

    It is related to Brexit but also to Macron’s protesters to feminised HR departments and ever burgeoning compliance divisions which you have excoriated in the past.

    It is an observation which is gaining traction but has barely reached the MSM yet but it will, via the bloggers and columnists on serious outlets like the Spectator and the,.. and the, .. well I suppose sometimes the Telegraph.

    Death to the BBC.

  2. Middle class Marxist shite–eco-freak and/or any other kind–need the shite beating out of them.

    Simple as that.

  3. I’m amazed at how long the sell by dates of some things seem to have extended. It turns out to be because of advances in packaging tech.

    If food prices rise as a consequence of more food waste, Senator Noone will be fine. The plebs will be worse off, but she will have successfully virtue signaled to the world.

  4. If Tesco and the rest ditched plastic packaging tomorrow, we’d start to hear loud howls of outrage from the same people but about food waste.

    A question for Senator Noone and fellow travellers would be: plastic panic or food waste apocalypse – which confected crisis would you prefer?

  5. Oh, and how we all laughed back in the 90’s at stories of urban Japanese schoolkids not knowing where food came from, drawing pictures of chickens with 4 legs.

    It’s not so funny any more…

  6. You missed the funniest point. Plastic is made from oil. Food is also made from oil – from fertiliser to the energy needed at all steps from tractors, to packing plants, to chilled trucks. So using less plastic would mean more food waste would almost certainly mean more net oil used (the clue is in the prices).

    If you are worried about using resources efficiently, use plastic.

    If you are worried about dumping plastic in the sea, then don’t ship it to asia, burn your rubbish.

  7. We’re ruled by people who haven’t the foggiest idea how anything works but are determined to “improve” it anyway, by force if necessary.

  8. This was a point I made when Hillary Clinton gave Putin an emergency stop button on a plaque with a caption that was supposed to say ‘Reset’ in Russian (it didn’t actually say ‘reset’ but that’s a different issue).

    There is absolutely no-one who has ever had anything like a proper job, ever, who doesn’t know what an emergency stop button looks like, and what the special meaning of a button which looks like that is. But nobody like that is involved at any level in the staff of someone like Hillary Clinton (or, to be fair, any other senior politician).

  9. I think the worst bit is the masses of uninterested people who don’t believe that stuff like this is political, and so share petitions and this sort of article on Facebook because they care about the planet and sea creatures and whatnot and don’t realise they have to think critically about the reasons we use “so much plastic”, the tradeoffs involved in changing how we do things, the fact that logistics supply chains probably know more about logistics than they do, and the motives of the pressure groups pushing for change. I think this happens with a lot of topics and is why so many pressure groups have success pushing their agendas for awful but media-friendly and feel-good solutions to minor problems.

    Not sure how I’d fix this though.

  10. I think the worst bit is the masses of uninterested people who don’t believe that stuff like this is political

    Quite, they think they’re being altruistic, prefixing every sentence with “Surely” or “Oh come on!”, when in fact they’re simply engaged in political campaigning for their own benefit.

  11. Quite, they think they’re being altruistic, prefixing every sentence with “Surely” or “Oh come on!”, when in fact they’re simply engaged in political campaigning for their own benefit.

    We’ve become collectively so comfortable and rich that people have started to value that warm, fuzzy glow above actually getting food out of the ground and onto their plates. That bit is taken as read, and is implicit.

    These people are way beyond the peak of Maslow’s pyramid of needs, and the clouds between us and it has made a lot of people forget that the lower layers of it even exist.

  12. I don’t mean the fake charities and lobby groups and their cheerleaders like Noone. It’s worse than that; it’s the general public outsourcing their critical thinking faculties to David Attenborough or whoever other celeb has told them “plastic bad”, and that they don’t understand enough to even realise that’s what they’re doing. And that there’s no credible opposition to their assertions coming from anywhere; the packaging industry and supermarkets will just keep their mouths shut and hope it will go away, and if it doesn’t they just cave – no packaging firm is going to publicly stand up and say “well actually we looked at a bunch of alternatives to the single use plastics and none of them really meet our requirements” because they would immediately be vilified in the media as not caring about the planet or being selfish regardless of the merit of their argument, and probably lose several major contracts as a result.

    Hence the mugs of social media, with enough interest to click share on a sad-looking story but not enough interest to actually read into the topic, control the direction of an entire industry and that’s why we have to pay 10p a plastic bag in the supermarket now and the fresh veg will soon be that little bit less fresh. It’s depressing.

  13. “you’re not going to be able to feed cities of between 2 and 5 million people via small shops filled with bent, muddy, and cracked vegetables chucked in cardboard boxes. Well you could, but not while maintaining the standards of living everyone now demands.”

    Correct. You probably could do it, but it would mean loads more poorly-paid people who have to work hard at fetching and carrying and shovelling shit. And someone in the family (women?) would have to spend virtually all their time shopping and preparing and cooking. And we would have to eat what was seasonally and locally available, rather than feeling entitled to whatever food could be flown in from around the world. A bit like the UK in the middle of the last century, in fact.

  14. I’ve a friend here who’s the manager of one of the Spanish outlets of a UK supermarket chain. It’s a little different from the UK versions because it carries a far larger fresh fruit & veg section & also has a butcher’s counter provides english style cuts. I’ve asked her how much waste food they throw out. She reckons between 2 & 3 plassy bags, A week. That’s everything including time expired freezer & shelf stuff & that with damaged packaging.
    Contrast. One time I used to live in a flat in Camden’s Inverness Street. As in Inverness Street Market. Inverness Street Market actually isn’t all that large. When I lived there it ran to 3 stalls doing fruit ‘n veg, One doing meat & another fish. The stall specialised in cheese where the g/f used to buy her Norwegian cheese, tastes remarkably like toffee. (What you get with a St Vincent chick arrived via Oslo. Rice ‘n peas ‘n herring) Rest of the market’s clothes, household stuff, bit of tourist junk. All in all probably doesn’t add up to more retailing area than my friend’s supermarket. The amount of food got chucked at the end of every day was phenomenal. We used to go down & scavenge before the council refuse collectors got at it. (We ate like kings & so did half of our mates) They’d be taking away maybe 2 to 3 cubic metres of it. Daily.
    Just think of the wasted energy input from harvesting at the farms, transport to Nine Elms wholesale market ( and the waste Nine Elms itself produces) transport across London to Camden. All to end up in a council compactor.
    Yet these arseholes are saying supermarkets are the emperors of waste & you should all be shopping at your local, organic, market stall. Cvnts.

    That said. It’s mercadillo day, today. And, since it’s only a couple of hundred meters down the road, no doubt we’ll be off along there soon checking the fruit & veg stalls & loading up. We’re fools to ourselves, really. We’ll then be trying to stuff as much of it down the gullets of our happy band of residents as quickly as possible before it all goes off. Generally the day after tomorrow. If we shopped at Carrefour it’d be better quality at a lower price & last a week. As it is, no doubt the compost heap will be gaining another layer.

  15. Industrial farming (and the global supply chain from the farmer to the eater) has effectively eliminated famine thanks to crop failure for the first time ever in human history. And the farmers are doing so on less land that 50-100 years ago. I wrote about the farming part a couple of weeks ago. I think this post complements that one nicely and I’ll be adding it as link

    https://ombreolivier.liberty.me/dont-forget-the-farmers/

  16. Seen on reddit: “FedEx can get a can of corn from Nebraska to California faster than the human body can get it from one end to the other.”

  17. This won’t end well.

    I dunno about that. I think the worst that will happen is there’ll be a move to package things differently or offer more things loose (as the demand is clearly there to get retailers to try alternatives – sorry but it is), but at which point people will quietly continue to buy the packaged stuff as it is now because it’s fresher or more appealing in a packet or whatever, then it’ll be forgotten about.

    I’d take my handbag and shoes off down to the nearest greengrocer, but they’re as rare as hen’s teeth. You can still find them though.

    Suppliers don’t always get it right just because they’re in the business. We discussed a product recently (now plastic, previously cardboard) and I can promise you it’s now way over-engineered and operates less effectively than it used to. And I’ll continue to try and buy the old version, as it’s my preference, but because some marketing department somewhere has decided they want to sell me this version wrapped in an extra layer of plastic, telling me it’s better / more aspirational (read: expensive), that’s the one that’ll take up more space on the shelves until the alternative disappears.

    I don’t actually doubt that it’s in some way consumer driven. But a lot of these plastic wrapped ‘improvements’ are fairly marginal so it can’t hurt to consider the opportunity cost.

  18. I think the worst that will happen is there’ll be a move to package things differently or offer more things loose

    I was referring more to the knowledge gap and the hubris of city-dwellers rather than changes to packaging. Surely by now you’re realised that my posts go:

    1. Highlight single issue.
    2. Extrapolate to general.
    3. Predict end of the world.

    but because some marketing department somewhere has decided they want to sell me this version wrapped in an extra layer of plastic, telling me it’s better

    Having just finished my module on marketing, I can well believe that.

  19. “I can promise you it’s now way over-engineered and operates less effectively than it used to. ”

    But this neatly describes every iteration of an operating system, app, webpage, etc. Add 100 more bloatfunctions, delete two critical functions you use all the time, make it harder to find everything, change the design to something “cool” with illegible light grey text on a light grey background, increase the number of steps to do anything, change all the 30 year-old keyboard shortcuts, and turn it into a pisspoor document management system that disrespects the idiot-proof filing system structure everyone between the ages of 20 and 70 is used to.

    It’s all part of keeping us busy, and taking us closer to the Process Event Horizon.

  20. “And the farmers are doing so on less land that 50-100 years ago.”

    The development of agriculture will continue in this direction with far higher productivity due to IoT – Smart Farming, improving yields and cutting costs and freeing up more folk to get into white collar urban jobs and buy more food. Although the cost of food will continue to increase slightly it will also continue to reduce as a proportion of overall household expenditure due to faster income level increases.

    The increased amount of white collar eaters will be located in urban settings necessitating the need to produce more food in the urban environment. So smart farming will not only include meg data mapping but will also take the shape of increased urban agriculture, vertical farms, aquaponics, lab grown meats and the like which in theory will be fresher, more nutritious and cheaper, due to data management, less transport, packaging and storage costs. Smart farming is said to be the most underrated boom industry that is coming towards the growing number of white collar hungry city slickers and at a far quicker pace than they think it is.

    Soylent Green by 2022, is my best estimate.

  21. The growing u of 100% N2 as a preservative will mean we’ll all be asphyxiated in our kitchens.
    Refrigeration must be banned due to its carbon footprint. Organic is best due to low yields not stressing the land, Loose produce stimulates our immune systems due to cross contamination.

    To the ignorant, this is a target rich area.

  22. It’s CP Snow’s ‘Two Cultures’ writ large. There is much more of a disconnect now between those who understand stuff & those two think they don’t need to. As you say, science & technology is so much more essential to the smooth operation of society & the world generally, that a studied lack of interest in this by those who would presume to order society is criminally negligent. They will find it just as hard to learn & understand physics, engineering, the development of industrial processes etc. as I would to absorb the conventions & subtleties of Ballet & Opera. But their failure to do so is far more important than mine.

  23. Not sure about your response here. Many people are perfectly aware that produce needs packaging. They are looking however, for a more environmentally sustainable option to be available.

  24. Many people are perfectly aware that produce needs packaging. They are looking however, for a more environmentally sustainable option to be available.

    Firstly, that’s not the impression I get. Exhibit A: the tweet I quoted.

    Secondly, most people have no idea as to the environmental sustainability of the current packaging other than what they gleaned from David Attenborough on Blue Planet.

  25. The whole anti-plastic movement is just an extension of the naturalistic fallacy. You can’t assume that loose vegetables or vegetables in artisanallly woven hemp shopping bags are more “sustainable” than plastic-wrapped vegetables just because it *looks* more natural that way. There are costs and fossil fuel energy inputs that aren’t obvious to the consumer with any approach you choose to get food from the fields to market.

  26. The most obvious thought that comes to mind is how does Madame take her fresh produce away from said store when it comes unpackaged, does she, by chance, rip a plastic bag from the roll provided?

  27. I wonder how much of that packaging is driven by a fear of inadvertently breaking one of the myriad food regulations and the accompanying political scandal and opprobrium from the likes of Sen Noone if they do?

    “In any conversation on this topic, you’ll inevitably get someone – usually a woman with a good salary, nice handbag, and plenty of shoes – smugly state that they buy their vegetables loose from the local organic shop and “they’re perfectly all right”. ”

    And if little Jonny gets a dose of the squits it probably won’t even be linked to the badly washed and prepared organic food.

    However if Tesco poisons half a town and somebody dies their executives will face corporate manslaughter charges and, AIUI, some of them could go to jail for a significant length of time. That’s to add to the massive fines, drops in profits and reputation damage even if nobody dies. All of which will no doubt be cheered on by Sen Noone.

    Its almost as if incentives matter.

  28. So who is going to buy fruit after it has been squeezed and prodded for freshness by an army of choosey customers?

  29. @BiG
    Looking it up from your clue, either geitost or gjetost sound familiar. Bit difficult parsing Norwegian strained through a Caribbean accent. Quite tasty though. So was the cheese.

  30. @Jack the dog on December 4, 2018 at 10:00 am

    +1

    I keep reminding people:

    “It’s not excess packaging, packaging is a cost – if it wasn’t necessary, it wouldn’t be added”

    Side note: few months ago on TV (Inside The Factory?) – fruit firm researching size and quantity of invisible laser holes in plastic “excess packaging” punnet wrap to extend shelf/fridge/home life of Strawberries.

  31. “And the farmers are doing so on less land that 50-100 years ago.”

    That’s because 100 years ago, about 2/3rds of the available farm land was used to grow grass and/or hay to feed the motive power of the farm – horses. You needed the horses to plough, haul manure, haul the produce and, in short, do everything that is done today by tractors and other mechanised transport.

    Funny, that. You actually need fuel to work the farm and process the end product. Who would have thought that horses need to eat if they are required to work. And the required area for a horse to grow grass and hay was about 1 to 1 1/2 acres per animal, minimum.

  32. That’s because 100 years ago, about 2/3rds of the available farm land was used to grow grass and/or hay to feed the motive power of the farm – horses.

    Quite so, but not only that.
    At least you didn’t have to buy fuel or make tractor payments (overdraft not required)
    But 40% of the cropland went into chaff/hay & oats – purely to feed the “tractor”.

    With a tractor you pretty much just jump into the cab & start ‘er up and are instantly ploughing at 7 miles per hour, for 24 hrs per day.

    With Horses you get up at 2am to feed them, to allow proper ingestion by the time they’re starting work, then take them to a trough or waterhole, so they can drink & have the water ingested.
    Then you fit the collars & hames to each horse and walk the team to wherever the plough is, then you back ’em in (this part – reversing into the traces – is where the independent minded equine model tractors could prove considerably more difficult to manoeuvre than the modern mechanical type, which will go where you point it)

    Then you start ploughing at 2.2 miles per hour.
    For two hours only.
    Then you stop for a half-an-hour blow while the horses recover.
    Repeat the cycle of ploughing for a couple of hours then resting for a while, until you reach the number of hours a labouring man would work in one day.

  33. “Well you could, but not while maintaining the standards of living everyone now demands.”

    No, you couldn’t unless the bent, muddy and cracked organic vegetables are grown on on the same scale as non-organics. And distributed through the same supply chains. Actually organic produce requires considerably more farmland to produce than non-organic, allowing for losses to pests and diseases, less effective fertilisers etc. So our city dwellers would be pretty malnourished.

  34. Then you start ploughing at 2.2 miles per hour.

    Or one acre per day, which is where the measurement originated (albeit with a plough drawn by oxen).

  35. Longtime reader, first time comment-er.

    Agree with Tim and posters since on the arrogant hubris on display here, although I would perhaps have a smidgen more sympathy for the idea of reducing packaging in general .

    Catherine Noone is an increasingly typical Irish politician, virtue-signalling like mad for want of anything meaningful to do. She chaired the parliamentary committee that essentially produced the recent abortion referendum proposal. Whatever your views on abortion as a issue, I can tell you the campaign was characterised by virtue-signalling and emotional blackmail on a national scale by the Yes campaign – I know profilers don’t tend to be exactly restrained in this regard either, but in this case the political and media establishments went to town on righteous tweets and apocalyptic, if-you-have-any-doubts-about-abortion-at-all-YOU-ARE-AN-EVIL-MISOGYNIST rhetoric.

    That the referendum was won handsomely has emboldened this kind of thing. And the context is that Irish politicians don’t really have any power to actually do anything except virtue-signal and stay well in with the EU.

    In the last decade two events have made this abundantly clear. The first was the 2010 IMF/ECB/EU bailout, which punctured any illusions about economic sovereignty.

    The other was Brexit. 2016 was the much-celebrated 100th anniversary of the 1916 Rising which began the creation of the modern Irish state (another long post could be devoted to the celebrations which gave the impression that the Rising was largely led by women who, if they had been successful, would immediately have held a gay marriage at the G.P.O.) Yet in this year the most consequential event for Ireland (of the last half century) was a vote which Irish citizens had no say in.

    Both have punctured any interest serious people would have in politics. I grew up in a highly politically aware household – aged 12 I could name each cabinet minister going back 20 years (OK, maybe I am an outlier) – now I would have to look up who, say, the Minister for Education is. Politics is dominated by lifelong hacks (the Taoiseach, I know from mutual acquaintances, had no more interest in the practice of medicine than in becoming a coal miner)

    Not sure how interesting any of this is to the readers here – one of the recurrent annoying Irish traits is to imagine THE ENTIRE WORLD cares about “Irishness” – but there you go.

  36. Or one acre per day, which is where the measurement originated (albeit with a plough drawn by oxen).

    If you’re using an “Oxen” model tractor, the ploughing is at 1.4 miles per hour.
    (Which incidentally will just perfectly work out to an acre per day)

    Ox (or bullocks as I’m used calling them) are fitted with a lower ratio transmission than are horses, thus the bullock can pull low, slow, and strong – useful for shifting something that is really stuck, say pulling a wagon load of anvils out of a bog.
    They’re more reliable, where horses if they can get away with it will go in for lots of “prancing and pretending”, the bullicks will just lean in to the yoke & pull.

  37. “So smart farming will not only include meg data mapping but will also take the shape of increased urban agriculture, vertical farms, aquaponics, lab grown meats and the like which in theory will be fresher, more nutritious and cheaper, due to data management, less transport, packaging and storage costs.”

    Given that farming is largely the same as it was 100 years ago, jother than the machines have gotten larger and we’ve managed to invent some ways of getting more nutrition into plants and stopping the creepy crawlies eating everything, I suspect that food will be produced by pretty similar methods to today for a long time to come. Soil will be tilled, seeds will be sown, crops harvested, animals will mate and produce offspring, grass will be mown, hay will be made. Just faster and more accurately than in days gone by……..

  38. Yes I am also a bit skeptical on the projections for urban agriculture, sure we have seen a massive uptake in urban hydroponics, taking the sun, the soil and the seasons out of the mix, and yes I get it that we will grow or mutate more tucker in the urban setting because that is where the ever increasing amount of hungry consumers are located. Vertical farms to me are a bit like renewables, I cant see the business case for it at the moment unless lettuces start paying more rent than tenants. The other concern is that the vertical farming movement has been hijacked by the AGW, lets reduce transport emissions bandwagon.

    I do thing that Smart Farming is a goer though, in the same way as what the IoT has achieved with US shale gas production, ie product still extracted from where it is but with orders of magnitude more efficiency in the extraction and delivery to market elements of the delivery process, mostly due to digital enhancements.

    Mind you, I still see our first Soylent Green coming on line by 2022.

  39. @Sergei Rachmaninov (but Irish)

    As a fellow Paddy, I concur fully with your post.

    10 years ago, there was still a socially conservative wing in Fine Gael. Now their social policies seem to be served, still steaming, straight from the ovens of sociology/feminist university faculties.

    In fairness to them they, and all the other politicians stampeding to the left on social matters, seem to know their electorate: social conservatism is disappearing with the generation now dying off. It was too tied up with the Catholic Church and a society which was happy to live largely by the Church’s teachings.

    To those of us who haven’t signed up to this brave new era, it is all a bit bewildering.

    Our President, regarded by most during his earlier public life as a windbag lefty and not to be taken seriously, seems to have almost cult status among the under 40s.

    I suppose he is our Bernie Sanders or Jeremy Corbyn, while Varadkar is our Pierre Trudeau (even forming a novelty socks bromance with him).

    Even Varadkar’s “scandals” are a toe-curling embarrassment
    https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/leo-varadkar-hits-back-at-claims-he-got-a-free-meal-at-kylie-minogue-concert-37595786.html

    Apologies to all for this interruption to programming- normal service can now resume!

  40. Or one acre per day, which is where the measurement originated (albeit with a plough drawn by oxen).

    In other words, BACK TO THE FUTURE!

    (Unless it is deemed to be animal cruelty to the oxen, in which case, all bets are off).

  41. isp001 is spot on, food is essentially oil and the better it is packaged the less is wasted and so the less oil that we use in total.
    If you look at Britain fifty or a hundred years ago, or a less developed country now, the amount of wastage getting from field to shop basket was horrifying. Half or two-thirds lost was not unusual. If you look at the old methods e.g. grain lying on the floor in warehouses with open doors it is less surprising.
    I used to work for a major supermarket and I can assure you that they do not use more packaging than is required to preserve and present the product. It costs them money and is one of the first things they look at to reduce. ‘Six colour printing on the packet? Can’t we cut it to five or four? Can’t we use thinner X?’
    The other problem is that customers generally do not purchase in the same way that they talk, they simply do not pick the misshapen fruit, they buy the nicely packaged ones in plastic.

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