We're all looking for convenience. And not all of us have the inclination, time, or skills to neatly cut, chop, slice or dice food that we plan to serve to guests or even just cook for dinner.
That's why grocery stores have so many pre-cut items for sale. Fresh fruits cut into cubes. Vegetables sliced into strips. Diced onions.
But convenience comes with a price -- usually a price with a significant markup from the original product, according to Consumer Reports' ShopSmart magazine. On occasion, for some, paying that higher price might be worth it. But usually not.
"Unless you are really strapped for time, there's little reason to pay enormous premiums on most pre-prepped, fresh grocery items," Lisa Lee Freeman, editor-in-chief of ShopSmart said.
Click ahead for five items highlighted by ShopSmart that you can buy at the store whole or precut and see the markup consumers are charged.
The average price of a pound of potatoes is about $1.26. If you pick up potatoes that are pre-wrapped and ready to go in the oven, expect to pay more than double -- about $3.11 per pound. It's not a good equation for most folks, the magazine says, since getting a potato ready to cook is quick and simple.
A pound of whole pineapple typically costs about $2.75, while one sold cut up averages about $4.28 per pound, ShopSmart says. These deal might be worthwhile, the magazine suggests. Why? Because it can take some time to cut up a pineapple. Plus, not everyone can do it properly, potentially yielding less actual fruit.
Expect to pay a 317 percent markup ($11.67 a pound vs. $2.80) for kale that has been washed and trimmed, according to the magazine. And, if you're time-challenged, consider whether that might be worth paying. Kale can take a lot of effort to prepare for use.
Of all the precut products, none had a bigger markup than onions at 392 percent $4.65 a pound vs. 99 cents). While some might find even that huge markup worth it to avoid getting all teary-eyed, ShopSmart found that the quality of those pricey precut onions simply didn't match those cut fresh at home.
At a 192 percent markup ($6.56 a pound cut vs. $2.25 fresh), green beans are another item in the produce section that is going to cost you a huge premium to get precut. It's not that cutting green beans is all that difficult, but it can be time consuming cutting enough for a meal.