Coles is selling pre-chopped onions for $1.50.
Coles is selling pre-chopped onions for $1.50.

What this $1.50 product is really about


The simple task of chopping onions became a surprisingly contentious topic this week.

DIY chopping advocate Rhian Deutrom argued plastic tubs of pre-chopped onions were "absurd", adding, "the idea that someone could be so utterly lazy that they would avoid picking up a knife to dice their own damn bulb seems ludicrous".

And it is rather ludicrous to think people can't be bothered completing a rudimentary task. But I don't think that's what's happening here.


We can all use a little help sometimes. Picture: Supplied
We can all use a little help sometimes. Picture: Supplied


The issue here is time. Because Australians are working longer hours, with fewer breaks, and more overtime than ever before just to pay the mortgage or the rent. We aren't spending days on end lounging on day beds, before yawning and deciding, "Ya know what? I feel like frying some onions but yeah nah I can't be bothered chopping them."

It's a sad fact that working women with families still do most of the cooking - over two thirds, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. And while men are chipping in more to cook, it's women who spend two and a half times as long on food preparation and clean up than their partners.

Women are also at least 40 per cent more stressed than anyone else in the family unit, including single people. Working mums don't need to spend any more time cooking, but, as nobody else seems to want to step up, I am all in favour of shortcuts. Besides, supermarkets these days are already taking up too much of my time with self-service check outs - consider this payback for all the times I was told to "remove item from the bagging area" when there was precisely nothing in that damn bagging area.

But there isn't just the time-poor to consider, there is also the elderly and the less abled members of society, who might enjoy cooking but struggle with dexterity.

It's strange to me that in an age of dishwashers and microwaves we would mistake business for laziness. If we want to cast aspersions on poor old onions, we might as well condemn our consumption of smoothies and juices, too. After all, they're just fruit and vegetables chopped up super-fast.


Is it that hard to chop your own onion?
Is it that hard to chop your own onion?

As for the complaints about the waste of plastic, well, yes that's entirely valid. But things like cutting down on plastic and using your reusable coffee cup are not going to save the planet, despite how good they make us feel. The most obvious and direct way to help the environment is through government policy.

And as a Coles spokesman pointed out, all the packaging for the product can be recycled through REDcycle soft plastic recycling bins available at all Coles supermarkets.

Yes, bags and bottles are a problem but if it's the Earth you want to save, you might want to consider that one study shows 100 companies are responsible for responsible for 71 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions. A 4cm square of glad wrap over a bunch of onions will not put a baby seal's life in danger.

But if you're busy, because your work/life balance has collapsed in on itself, and you'd like to eat a vegetable, then I highly recommend purchasing some pre-cut, prepacked onions. Convenience is a consequence of a fast-paced lifestyle, and as we are showing no signs of slowing down, we'd best not blame those trying to help, or what next? Will we hate on people for buying soup? Let's save our outrage for the things that warrant it - like the self-service bagging area.

Coles is selling pre-chopped onions for $1.50. Picture: Supplied
Coles is selling pre-chopped onions for $1.50. Picture: Supplied

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