From a mislabelled chicken breast to a piece of salmon, are supermarkets deceiving us with the weight of their meat? Although a tad bit late to the party, my colleague, Rachel, and I decided to do a mini unauthorised investigation of our own to fact-check the weight of said items.
After a few days of research and being equipped with a portable weighing scale (thanks, Seth), we got to Supermarket hoppin’ for some weighin’. I hope this piece is worth dragging my East side behind all the way to Holland Village. We had three supermarkets on our agenda, FairPrice Finest, Cold Storage and Little Farms.
Of course, we had to start our journey with the infamous FairPrice, right? We made our way to the meat and fish section, respectively, and got one packet of each.
And the weighing commences…
Despite the pack of Chicken Breast showing 242g on the initial packaging, our scale showed us a different number. Assuming the total weight of 252g is inclusive of the styrofoam and desiccant pack, S$2.61 for 242g is pretty reasonable, right? A mere 10g difference isn’t going to deter me from buying a plump piece of meat.
Next up, is the piece of Fresh Salmon Fillet. Again, we faced the same thing— 298g on the packaging but 311g on the scale. The difference isn’t much, and for S$8.31 I wasn’t expecting much.
By extrapolating their weighing method, it seems like FairPrice is actually selling us the proper nett weight of the above-mentioned items as opposed to basing it on the gross weight. Which is a good thing, right?
I guess we can say FairPrice sells FairWeight(ed) items.
We packed our disappointment in a bag and proceeded to the next supermarket, Cold Storage. Over the years Cold Storage has gained quite a reputation by being labelled as too atas for ‘regular’ folks due to their price factor. Shoptalk aside, we were on a mission to weigh chicken breast and salmon. Truth be told, the idea of sneaking around weighing stuff in a supermarket was growing on to us by the minute. I felt like we were spies of sorts.
We picked up a packet of Chicken Breast and noticed that it was 1kg for S$3.60. We’re obviously no experts in ‘chicken breast weighology’ hence, we decided to swap it for another pack. (Sorry for being a horrible supermarket shopper, mom).
Much to our dismay, we couldn’t find any more packs of chicken breast.
Enter Supermarket Conspiracy Theorist Sonia… The folks at Cold Storage probably knew of our arrival and cleared out their chicken breasts before we arrived.
No more chicken breast? No problem. We decided to ‘adapt, improvise and overcome’, and picked up a pack of Chicken Breast Cubes instead. Weighing at 250g, we placed it on the scale and was shocked when the screen showed 363g. That’s about 113g difference! And it was for sale for only S$3.60. Their plastic packaging obviously doesn’t weigh beyond 20g. Does this mean Cold Storage over-delivers when it comes to their meat? A literal food for thought, huh?
Shocking chicken news aside, we proceeded to weigh the thick piece of Fresh Salmon Fillet. Per Cold Storage, the salmon’s 396g however, our scale showed us a 1g difference. That doesn’t seem that bad considering it’s selling for only S$10.65. This also means, if you’re looking for a cheaper salmon alternative, you should opt to get it from Cold Storage, instead.
Although I love Cold Storage, this is in no way a biased opinion. I mean, we’re clearly there to focus on the weight of two headlining meat and fish options after all.
Last on the list was Little Farms— an atas supermarket of the three. Amid the fresh produce and wide range of pre-made bottles of Kombucha, we found the meat and fish section tucked away at the back.
We picked up a 624g piece of Chicken Breast, set our portable weighing scale away from anyone’s line of sight, and got to weighing. The S$11.22 chicken breast appeared to be close to scale with 626g appearing on the screen. We were pretty surprised to get a near-accurate result, slightly similar to the one we found at Cold Storage.
Packed differently from the other two supermarkets, the vacuum-sealed Fresh Salmon Fillet here costs S$12.64 for 158g. It was significantly lighter than the other two fillets, but visually, it looked the most appealing. Anyway, we weighed it and the results showed that it was true to scale.
We were impressed with the results of the Chicken Breast and Fresh Salmon Fillet here, and it speaks volumes. However, do note, I’m not here to promote either of the three supermarkets.
It’s important to note that it is only human to err, and the two incidents were probably just that. But would that deter you from shopping at your favourite neighbourhood supermarket or prompt you to bring a portable weighing scale wherever you go? Understandably so, the establishments have the right to competitively price their items but when it comes to interchangeable produce like fresh meat and fish, who can put a definitive price or weight on them?
All I can say is that, if it feels right, get it. If it doesn’t? Head on over to the weighing scales available within the establishment and check it there.
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