8 Grocery Store Secrets from the Produce Section You Probably Didn’t Know

This insider info will help you make the best choices when shopping for fruits and vegetables.

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Grab from the back

Most produce clerks will rotate older produce to the front. This encourages shoppers to buy up greens before they start to wilt or go mushy. If you want the freshest fruits and veg, reach toward the back. Grabbing from the back of the display also ensures you get items that have been touched the least by other shoppers’ germy hands.

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Woman buys fruits and vegetables at a market, apple
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Shop in the middle of the week

To avoid the crowds and get the freshest produce, it’s best to shop in the middle of the week. What’s more most stores have fresh food delivered on Tuesdays, so on Wednesday, the selection will be at its peak.

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Horizontal,close Up,of,mid,section,of,a,woman,tearing,off
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Use a produce bag

The grocery store carts, cart handles and checkout conveyor belts are all covered in bacteria. Keep your fruits and vegetables as clean as possible by using a plastic produce bag. Of course, always wash your produce thoroughly before consuming.

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Produce section - Checking phone for produce recalls
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Pay attention to recalls

You’ll most likely hear about a national food recall, and grocery stores are quick to take items off shelves. But for real-time notifications, check out the federal government’s Recalls and Safety Alerts website. If you purchased a recalled fruit or vegetable, throw it out and sanitize anything in your kitchen that it came into contact with, like utensils, cutting boards and countertops.

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Produce section - Worker carrying crate of apples
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Produce is at the front of the store for a reason

The produce section might be enticing you to spend more money! Locating produce at the front of the store with piles of bright, nutritious fruits and vegetables makes shoppers feel healthy. Once your cart is full of healthy choices, you’re more likely to reward yourself with unhealthy options, spending more on snacks throughout the store.

Don’t miss our ultimate guide to healthy grocery shopping.

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Man at grocery store shopping for snacks
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Beware of impulse buys

Stores take further advantage of impulse produce purchases with marketing tactics like bright displays and two-for-one discounts. If you’re on a tight grocery budget, be aware of the temptation, and stick to your list.

Here’s how long you can expect fresh produce to last.

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Produce section - Shelf of bananas
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There is a perfect banana colour

Bananas are one of the most popular fruits in Canada, and are frequently used to attract shoppers to the produce section. In fact, even the colour of the banana is planned with shoppers in mind! According to one consumer behaviour expert, bananas with Pantone colour 12-0752 (called Buttercup) are more likely to sell than bananas with Pantone colour 13-0858 (Vibrant Yellow), which is slightly brighter. Now banana farmers plant their crops under conditions that will create the Buttercup colour.

Discover six tricks to keep bananas fresh.

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Produce section - water misting parsley
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The water mist is a trick

The periodic misting of produce might seem like it’s keeping your fruits and vegetables fresh, but in fact it’s just a trick to get you to buy more. The water gives produce a dewy, freshly picked look that tempts you to pick it up. In reality, the water might be doing more damage than good. The extra moisture can cause some fruits and vegetables to spoil faster.

Now that you know how to navigate the grocery store produce section, find out the best apps to save money on groceries.

Taste of Home
Originally Published on Taste of Home

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