Walk into any school lunchroom (well, school is over now) or summer-camp cafeteria and what do you see? Single serving containers! Everything, unfortunately, comes single-serving: utensils, yogurt, cheese, crackers/chips, popsicles, juice/water, I can go on and on. But this is not limited to the children’s arena. In offices or at home, too, you can find a plethora of single serving food and drinks. Oatmeal, coffees (Starbucks VIA ready Brew) or coffee pods that you (yikes!) throw away. At least compost, please. How about Crystal Light’s single serve powders that I’ve seen people empty into their plastic water bottles. Now that’s a double eco-whammy! Don’t get me started on the condiments.
The one single serving product I remember vividly as a kid: mini cereal boxes. Not only are most of these horridly unhealthy (that’s a whole different blog), but they sit right beside their larger counterparts on the grocery store shelves. Talk about a marketing ploy: what kid wouldn’t want that cute mini box of Fruit Loops? I have seen large platters of these stacked boxes, in neat pyramids, I might add, at hotels as part of the free continental breakfasts.
I find it surprising that these single-serve products are not only still here, but more and more seem to be available. As consumers, we are growing more concerned about the environment and demanding more eco-friendly products and packaging. To many of us, then, it’s a no-brainer. Single-serving products are more expensive and use more packaging which is therefore, wasteful. Corporations, though, always feel the need to be one step ahead of its consumers. With obesity on the rise, these “single servings” are supposed to help with portion control. Wouldn’t you think purchasing a larger container of yogurt (cheaper) and using a reusable container (better for the environment)be the better choice? Unfortunately, in the fast paced world that we live in, the battle of convenience often trumps the opportunity cost and that’s sad.
Here are two blog posts that I found interesting about single serving products.