Another look to see if FoodSaver saves you money
I was reading this months Costco Connection and found a piece about preserving food. It probably shouldn’t surprise anyone that Costco would want to promote it’s products for sealing and saving food. With this kind of natural bias, I thought that I’d take everything I see with a grain of salt. Still I thought it was worth a look…
In particular I’d like to look at what they said about the FoodSaver. Costco mentioned this study from University of Arizona. It’s a shame that the study doesn’t seem to be in a text I could easily scan. You have to listen to the podcast. (Note to Publishers: Podcasts should always be accompanied with a text version when they are made for the web). The article also mentioned that Foodsaver preserves food up to 5 times longer citing a study by the University of California at Davis’ Department of Food Science and Technology. Having preserved romaine lettuce for more than a month, I can believe it.
But is Foodsaver a good value?
If you are like the people who throw away $600 worth of food a year from the Costco study, you may think it is immediately worth it. I found that it’s not quite that simple. You have to actually use the Foodsaver. It sounds easy, but a lot of the time I tell myself that I will eat the leftovers tomorrow. More often than I like, I lie to myself. When I use it, it does a good job.
The other issue to consider is the packaging materials. When we got the Foodsaver we bought bags – a good amount of bags on Ebay. I tried to save money and got generic bags. The ones I got don’t seal as well as the real thing. Finally, I realized that the best solution is simply to get a Foodsaver jar sealer and head to Michael’s (or other craft store) and some wide mouth mason jars. Now once a week, I cook up some chicken, steak, and hamburger, cut it into small pieces and jar it. During the week, it’s really easy to make burritos, tacos, chicken Caesar salads, spaghetti with meat sauce… and I’m sure a slew of other things that I haven’t thought of. I like that the jars are a one-time cost and keep our carbon footprint small (vs. using and throwing out the bags).
In the end, I think the Foodsaver can save you money, but like most anything you have to have discipline. It doesn’t always help just to have the tool available. Actually using the tool correctly is the key.
Photo Credit: webg33k
Early Retirement Extreme says
Wouldn’t it be easier to denominate Monday and Thursday as “leftover”-days? That would get the food eaten without the need for working the gadget.
I have to say that I got a Foodsaver years ago and I still love it. I once had 4 ribeye steaks in the freezer that I sealed that I forgot about. I found them 5 months later ( I date everything I freeze with this) and they were still tender and juicy like I just bought them, with no freezer burn. True story!
jim of Blueprint for Financial Prosperity says
I knew someone with a Foodsaver, it’s not all its cracked up to be, according to him. The problem is you start generating a lot more plastic waste in those bags, which was a turn off for us.
As for Costco bias (and I’m biased in favor of Costco), the newsletter is sent to existing customers, so it’s not like you’re convincing someone the Costco-bulk buy method is a good one… they’ve already been convinced.
i was skeptical about the foodsaver also, but my family used to use it all the time. My mom tended to make food for 10 even though there were only 4 people in my family, my packing away the food in the bags, it saved freezer space (vs glass bowls) and it allowed us to have fresh home cooked food when my mom was too busy to cook or out of town.
now that i’m living on my own i didn’t think i needed one but my mom gave me our old one to bring with me and i find my self using it all the time. It’s great for costco since i can buy a large amount of meat and use it for months at a time.
Scott @ The Passive Dad says
I bought a foodsaver a couple years ago and thought it was a great idea for stretching the food budget and keeping food fresh. Well, it was a good idea and a wonderful product, but we never used it. When I got home from Costco I sealed everything from chocolate chips to vegetables. The problem was, we never made it a routine when we cooked and prepared food. Kind of like not doing the dishes after dinner. One more thing you have to do. I’m still finding items in our freezer that were sealed from 3 years ago. I guess it’s time to throw them out.