WTF Fun Fact 13550 – Grocery Store Apples

It turns out the “fresh” apple you buy at the store might not be as fresh as you think – grocery store apples can be a year old, and you’d never know it.

How Apples Stay Fresh for Months

We often assume the fresh produce we buy from the grocery store was harvested just days or weeks prior to our purchase. However, someone might have picked your apple over a year ago.

So how do stores manage to provide these fresh-looking and crisp-tasting apples throughout the year?

Controlled Atmosphere Storage

Controlled Atmosphere (CA) storage is an innovation that has revolutionized the way we store apples and other produce. By regulating the temperature, oxygen, carbon dioxide, and humidity levels within storage units, apples’ ripening process slows significantly. The low temperature is particularly crucial, often set just above freezing. Additionally, reducing the oxygen levels from the 21% found in the air we breathe to a mere 1-2% and increasing carbon dioxide levels keeps the apples in a state of dormancy.

This storage method doesn’t just slow down the ripening process but can also help in preserving the apple’s flavor, color, texture, and vital nutrients. In essence, CA storage puts the apples to “sleep.” That way, we can store them for extended periods without significant deterioration.

The Journey of Grocery Stores Apples

Let’s follow the journey of an apple. It gets harvested during the apple-picking season, which typically runs from late summer to early fall. After a brief initial inspection and cleaning, instead of heading straight to the grocery shelves, many of these apples make their way into CA storage facilities. They might remain there for several months or even over a year, depending on the demand and variety of the apple.

When the market needs replenishment outside of the apple season, food purveyors get out their stored apples, wash them, and sometimes wax them to enhance their shine. After they undergo quality checks, companies pack and ship to grocery stores nationwide.

A common question arises: do these “aged” apples differ nutritionally from their fresher counterparts? The good news is that the CA storage process retains most of the apples’ nutrients. While there might be slight decreases in some vitamin levels, such as vitamin C, over extended periods, the overall nutritional profile remains largely intact.

Embracing the Benefits of Preserved Grocery Store Apples

Understanding the age of grocery store apples isn’t meant to deter individuals from purchasing them. In fact, CA storage has many benefits. It reduces food waste by allowing us to store apples longer, ensuring they don’t spoil before reaching consumers. It also ensures apples remain available year-round, not just during the harvest season.

However, for those who prioritize consuming fruits at their freshest, this information might influence purchasing decisions. Buying apples during their natural harvesting season or directly from local farmers’ markets can often guarantee a more recent harvest. Moreover, it’s always a good practice to ask store representatives about the sourcing and storage practices for their produce.

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Source: “That apple you just bought might be a year old – but does it matter?” — TODAY

WTF Fun Fact 13220 – Chat Checkouts

Have you ever been in line at the store and rolled your eyes at the person chatting away with the clerk instead of getting their things together and leaving in a timely manner? That’s most of us. But for some people, that trip to the store may be one of the primary sources of socialization. That’s why the Dutch have invented “chat checkouts” (or Kletskassas). They’re primarily geared towards elderly people who want to take their time and chat people up at the store.

What are chat checkouts?

Chat checkouts are a type of Kletskassa, or social gathering, for older people. Community centers, cafes, or other public spaces often play host to these events. They provide seniors with an opportunity to socialize, make new friends, and engage in various activities such as playing games, singing, and chatting.

The goal of Kletskassa is to help combat feelings of loneliness and isolation among older people and provide them with a supportive community. So it makes sense to open up this opportunity in a place where everyone needs to go – the grocery store.

Jumbo’s nod to elderly shoppers

Dutch supermarket chain Jumbo announced the program in 2021. It said it plans to introduce 200 “chat registers” in its stores. These are for customers who aren’t in a hurry and want to have a chat during checkout, according to VICE (cited below).

“The initiative, announced by the popular supermarket chain Jumbo on Monday, is meant to combat loneliness—especially in the country’s elderly population. According to Statistics Netherlands, a government organization, 26 percent of Dutch people older than 15 feel at least moderately lonely. That proportion rises to 33 percent among those over 75.”

Customers were delighted by a pilot program Jumbo did of the chat checkout in 2019. The Dutch government will help sponsor it as part of their “One Against Loneliness” program.

“The Kletskassa is a checkout especially for people who are not in a hurry and feel like having a chat,” a Jumbo representative wrote in an email to Motherboard. “Many people, especially the elderly, sometimes feel lonely. It’s a small gesture, but a very valuable one, especially in a world that is digitizing and getting faster and faster.”   WTF fun facts

Source: “Grocery Store Opens ‘Chat Registers’ for Lonely Customers” — VICE

WTF Fun Fact – Kurt Warner The Grocery Store Clerk

WTF Fun Fact - Kurt Warner The Grocery Store Clerk

In 1994, Kurt Warner was cut from the NFL and got a job at a grocery store in Iowa. Four years later, Warner would lead the St. Louis Rams to their only Super Bowl win, setting several league records, and winning both the NFL regular season MVP and Super Bowl MVP. – WTF Fun Facts

Source: Kurt Warner’s Grocery-Store Checker to NFL MVP Story a Tale of Perseverance | Bleacher Report | Latest News, Videos and Highlights