California Woman on Quest for Paper Produce Bags vs. Plastic Bags in Grocery Stores

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There are 10 Reasons Why Women Prefer Paper Produce Totes Over Plastic Bags, reports Package Containers, Inc.

Produce packed in paper totes is more appealing.

It's like getting a little extra gift from your store.

“Rena” is a California shopper on a one-woman quest. She wants her grocery store to offer more fresh produce packed in paper totes instead of plastic bags. There’s no law against them -- unlike plastic checkout bags, plastic produce bags are not included in California’s single use ban. But if Rena can get her grocer to carry the paper bags, she won’t have to hassle with the plastic ones ever again.

“My Sherman Oaks natural foods grocery store is very homey,” says Rena. “Everybody’s there to help you, but when I ask for the paper bags – especially the larger ones that hold a lot of produce, they say they haven’t been able to get them recently.”

“I appreciate a grocer’s dilemma (and their shoppers' frustration) when the store can’t readily source our bags,” says Bob Degnan, President and CEO of Package Containers, Inc., the Canby, Oregon company that makes the Home-Toter® brand produce bags. "The truth is that grocery stores sell a lot more produce when they display it in our toters. It doesn’t matter if it’s apples, peaches, pears, potatoes, onions, green beans -- even exotic fruits. The Home-Toter® bags work every time. When more produce gets sold, people consume more fresh fruits and vegetables and become healthier. From the store’s viewpoint, a lift in produce sales means more revenue gets generated and profits increase dramatically.”

“We’ve known for some time that women appreciate our totes,” notes PCI regional sales manager Jeff Estep, who Rena called about her problem (he then sent her a selection of Home-Toter® bags from his private stash.) “We’ve seen how more women than men are attracted to them at produce industry trade shows like next week’s Produce Marketing Association’s 'Fresh Summit', but we didn’t quite know why. Now, thanks in large part to my conversation with Rena, we do.”

10 Reasons Why Women Prefer Paper Produce Toter Bags over Plastic Bags:

# 1: Paper Produce Totes Are Appealing
“They make produce like cherries and sugar snap peas more inviting,” says Rena. “They make you want to look, make you want to try. It’s like having a farmer’s market right there in your grocery store.”

# 2: Paper Produce Totes Are Safer
Produce displayed in paper totes hasn’t been picked over. (Picture a child with a runny nose handling “your” apples before you get there.)

# 3: Paper Produce Totes Are Efficient
Having different sizes to choose from means you buy only as much produce as you or your family needs (single men and retired couples appreciate this feature as well).

# 4: Paper Produce Totes Are Protective
You can nest smaller totes within larger totes in the front of your cart, which keeps your produce from getting bumped and bruised by heavier groceries. Paper totes also make checkout more orderly. And your produce is easier to pack in the car and sort when you get home.

# 5: Paper Produce Totes Are Convenient
Paper totes are easy to use -- just “grab and go” without having to fuss with plastic bags. “The totes’ single handle makes them second nature to women,” claims Rena, “because women are used to carrying handbags.”

# 6: Paper Produce Totes Are Strong
They don’t break when you pick them up – even when packed with heavy fruit.

# 7: Paper Produce Totes Are Healthy
Fruits ripen better and more naturally in them, whether on your kitchen counter or in the fridge. The totes let the fruit breathe better, too, whereas plastic bags can accumulate moisture and accelerate decay.

# 8: Paper Produce Totes Are Re-Useable
They're great for packing school lunches -- or for gift giving. You can store all sorts of things in them: spare buttons, small change, your kids’ craft projects, even secret squares of chocolate.

# 9: Paper Produce Totes Are Compostable and Biodegradable
They don’t end up littering the street, clogging waterways and harming children or wildlife like plastic produce bags can.

#10: Paper Produce Totes Are Surprising
“It’s like getting a little extra something,” adds Rena, “a gift from your store!”    

Since nearly two-thirds of grocery shoppers are women, and since women appear to prefer paper produce totes over plastic bags, it stands to reason that if stores have more of the totes on display, more women will be pleased. They will become more loyal shoppers (especially if the store makes the totes available 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year). And more fresh produce will be sold and consumed.

Until that happy time, Rena continues her one-woman California paper produce bag quest – until she's also joined by others who ask for the totes, women who are just as frustrated as she is with those plastic produce bags.

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Robert Degnan
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