Buying a pre-made salad is a total chump move. Everyone knows that, and everyone buys them anyway. It’s fast, it’s pretty healthy, and making a salad is a pain in the arse. But since paying almost $11 at Loblaws over the weekend for a giant Greek salad that started turning brown the next day, I’ve been obsessing about the price (and quality) of store-made salads. So I decided to figure it out, which is also a chump move.
Holy crap, that’s expensive
I’ll get to the punch line first, and then explain. It costs a lot more to buy a prepared salad. Store bought is $10.73, you can make it yourself for $6.14. That’s a lettuce-to-lettuce comparison, using ingredients bought from the same store on the same day.
They don’t make salads out of the stuff that just came in today, it’s made out of the stuff they need to get rid of in a hurry. Lettuce that is beginning to wilt (or will), cheese that only has a few days left, cucumbers that have been sitting on the shelves for a few weeks. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, but if you’re buying your own stuff you’re getting the freshest ingredients in the store.
The complex equations
Anyway, I wandered the grocery store finding out how much all the raw ingredients cost. Then I figured out how much that worked out to per gram. Then I bought one of the ready-made salads and took it home to pick apart. Each separated ingredient went into its own bowl. Then I weighed each item, and multiplied it by cost per gram to determine the actual price of my salad had I bought the ingredients and made it my own damn self.
The Greek salad is pretty simple – black olives, cherry tomatoes, feta, romaine lettuce, red onion, cucumber and two little packs of dressing. The feta was the most expensive, contributing $2.82 to the overall cost of the salad. The least expensive? The black olives – which cost 3 cents each to buy at the little olive bar near the deli(so I can’t figure out why you only get six).
The one complication
I didn’t have a digital scale, so I had to buy one. That was $30. And after touching the salad so much and putting it all back together, I’m a little disgusted so it’ll probably rot in the fridge. Which means this blog post, for which I’ll be paid absolutely nothing, will actually cost me about $40. But, now I know for sure that you pay $4.59 more for a store-made salad. And that has to be worth something?