The Neatest Little Paper Ever Read ®

Issue 974

(Continued from front page)

• Of the 3.6 billion tons of lettuce harvested in the U.S. each year, 70% is grown in Salinas, California, and 20% is grown in Yuma, Arizona. The other 10% is grown at various other places.

• Head lettuce keeps longer than leaf lettuce and ships better as well. It was put on railroad cars and surrounded by heaps of ice, leading to its name “iceberg lettuce.” Other lettuces didn’t become popular until shipping methods improved in the 1980s. Today, pre-shredded bagged salads outsell head lettuce.

• There are over 40 different Oreo products.

• Whole milk is usually 3% or 4% fat, so drinking 2% milk is not eliminating a huge amount of fat.

• Americans eat about 8.5 lbs of carrots per person per year. Apples are 25% air, which is why they float. Cabbage is 91% water.

• Baby carrots are the cores of misshapen regular carrots which are whittled down to the size of a thumb. The sludge left over from the “polishing” process is sold as cattle feed.

• The best-selling weekend for selling strawberries is Valentine’s Day; the biggest time for selling corn is the 4th of July; the most popular time for selling turkeys and cranberry sauce is Thanksgiving; but when are the most avocados sold? Super Bowl Sunday.

• Americans eat an average of 26 lbs. of bananas each every year, more than any other whole fruit.

• “Edamame” is a Japanese phrase meaning “beans on a branch” and denotes soybeans that are sold still in the pod.

• Jello flavors that failed: celery, mixed vegetable, coffee, cola, bubble gum, cinnamon, and Italian salad dressing.

• Cheese is the most shoplifted food.

• The cheese product called Velveeta was given the name because it’s velvety. It was invented as a method of using the whey that was being discarded during the production of cheese. Velveeta has a longer shelf life than natural cheese. Velveeta has one third fewer calories than cheddar. It’s a “pasteurized processed cheese product” so it doesn’t need to be refrigerated before being opened.

• In 1989 the Canadian band Barenaked Ladies released a song called “If I Had $1,000,000” which included the line “We wouldn’t have to eat Kraft dinner.” In Canada, macaroni & cheese is called Kraft dinner and is a popular item. During concerts, whenever this line was sung, fans would pelt the band with boxes of the product. They finally asked that the boxes be collected at the door of the concert and donated to a local food bank in each city.


• A typical market around the year 1900 would carry about 200 different items. By 1975, an typical grocery store carried about 9,000 items. By 2008, it was up to 40,000 items.

• An average grocery store will have about 12,000 shoppers every week spending an average of $40 each.

• A grocery store used to carry three kinds of eggs: small, medium, and large. Now there are usually around 15 kinds of eggs and egg-like products to choose from including cage-free eggs, pre-hard boiled eggs, and Eggbeaters imitation eggs.

• It used to be that groceries carried only iceberg lettuce but now an average store will have 15 different lettuces and lettuce products, including a variety of pre-bagged, pre-tossed, and pre-shredded greens.

• The average American grocery store does about $500,000 in business every week, or about $26.8 million each year. Multiplied by the number of grocery stores in the U.S., that works out to about $1 trillion per year that Americans spend on groceries. The gross domestic product of the U.S. is $16 trillion, including all goods from shoes to cars.

• Studies have shown that if quick, upbeat music is played in the background of grocery stores, people walk fast and push their shopping carts quickly. But if the music slows, then the people, and their carts, also slow. The slower they move, the more they buy. Dropping the beat from an allegro (108 beats per minute) to an adagio (60 beats) will typically result in an increase in sales of nearly 40%.

• People tend to get sick more often if they live in rural areas or urban food deserts where there are no grocery stores nearby. About 7% of the American public lives in a “food desert,” with no full-service grocery stores within a ten mile radius.