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Easy Peelers revisited

April 18, 2018

I first wrote and posted this piece in 2015, but since then the phenomenon has grown and grown. I am talking about these so-called ‘easy peelers’ that infest the fruit aisles of supermarkets. Here is the original piece again, with some new reflections added at the end:

Go into the fruit and veg section of any supermarket, and you will see countless net bags of orange-coloured citrus fruits labelled easy peelers. It seems to be a fairly recent development: I don’t remember seeing these so-called easy peelers until maybe three or four years ago, but now they are ubiquitous. Their name annoys me for two reasons. First, I just don’t believe it’s a proper name for a fruit. It’s a description, not a name. I cannot imagine any market gardener breeding this new strain of fruit and saying: “Hooray, I’ve got a new fruit here. I know – let’s call them… easy peelers!” But though I’ve searched the labels on the bag to see if there is a real name hidden away somewhere in small print, there isn’t. Amazingly, it appears that they really are called easy peelers.

The second reason the term annoys me is that it is not even accurate as a description. Easy peelers are not easy to peel. They are hard to peel. The skin is thin and sticks closely to the fruit inside. Peeling them is a matter of pulling the peel off bit by bit and getting juice all over your fingers. How dare they call them easy peelers? Easy peelers, forsooth! Easy peelers my arse.

Compare the easy peeler to the satsuma. Satsumas genuinely are easy to peel. And they have a proper name. Given the choice I would buy a satsuma over an easy peeler any day of the week. But I am no longer given the choice. I’ve searched the aisles of my local Sainsbury’s and Waitrose but the satsuma has gone.

This is what I would like to know. Supermarkets would not have made this wholesale shift to the easy peeler if it did not increase their profits or bring some other advantage. But what is the advantage? Why are they doing  it? Theories welcome.

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  1. Simon Carter permalink

    Whenever I see the name my mind wanders to memories of Emma Peel but why not have a banana – the original easy peelers?

  2. Mark Brafield permalink

    Wandering slightly off topic, I recently came across a very funny thread on Facebook in which you had to give the title of the book you are currently reading, adding the words ‘with a banana’. I have just finished volume 5 of ‘My Struggle’ by Karl Ove Knausgaard (which is just staggeringly good, and justifying all the hype), which became, obviously enough ‘My Struggle with a banana’. It still makes me laugh even now; try it.

  3. Simon Carter permalink

    Um..yes. I’m reading Brian Sewell’s Naked Emperors and Mikal Gilmores Shot in the Heart. They both work with a banana.

  4. They work brilliantly. I am reading PG Wodehouse’s Joy in the Morning. That works quite well.

  5. Simon Carter permalink

    P.G. Wodehouse will be hard to beat here (as usual) : Jeeves in the Offing, Carry On Jeeves, Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen, Stiff Upper Lip Jeeves.

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