Food & Wine
Stalk choppers unite: Sneaky money-saving trick sparks debate
With the cost of living expenses skyrocketing as the days go by, Aussie shoppers are taking matters into their own hands by finding creative ways to reduce their supermarket spend.
However, the latest ploy to pay less for broccoli, which now costs up to $11.90 per kilo in some areas – has left customers divided, with some condemning this questionable "short-cut".
Some shoppers have noticed legions of broccoli stalks being dumped on supermarket shelves, and have shared their observations online.
The running theory is that some customers are snapping off the florets and leaving the stalk – or stem – behind, as that's the heaviest part. Doing this makes the vegetable lighter and therefore, cheaper at the check-out.
By that logic, and the fact most retailers charge produce by weight, not item, people are arguably paying more for the stems that aren't often used.
Last week, 2GB producer Jake told host Ben Fordham he recently bought four pieces of broccoli for $15 from Woolworths, but he noticed the stems were longer than usual, meaning fewer broccoli florets.
He suggested it was a deliberate attempt by Woolworths to charge customers more for less, but that might not be the case.
A Coles shopper in Melbourne named Jenn Shaw said she saw it too and shared a video on TikTok.
In it, she pointed out that "shoppers are leaving stalks on shelves" in a bid to make them cheaper.
@jenn_shaw_ food prices in #Australia ... #foodwaste #foodprices #kitchenhacks ♬ Taste It - Ikson
Dozens of people responded to Shaw's video and admitted to breaking off what they needed, with one person arguing: "every bit helps these days", claiming she saves about $1.50 each time she buys broccoli, just by leaving the stalk.
"No disrespect but for that price, I would do the same," admitted another.
The original poster argued doing this creates so much waste as the stalks can be cooked and eaten too.
In the clip, the Melbourne woman suggested people chop them up and add them to meals the same way you would the florets, and dozens more agreed.
Coles and Woolworths speak out
After becoming aware of the practice, Coles said it's "disappointing" to see.
"It’s disappointing to hear a small number of customers have removed the stalks from broccoli in our stores as the entire vegetable is edible and full of nutritional value”.
"We have not changed the specifications we set for our suppliers around the length of broccoli stems," a Woolworths spokesperson said in a statement.
They also said the stem of the broccoli plays an important role in keeping the broccoli hydrated and fresh, particularly after being cut.
This viral video comes after Coles and Woolworths warned about more price hikes in the coming months due to increased production and manufacturing costs, fuel price hikes and supply chain blockages.