The No-Brainer Grocery Store Hack That Guarantees You’ll Choose the Freshest Meat

published Jun 6, 2023
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Meat section of grocery store with lots of kinds of packaged meat
Credit: Thomas Hoerup

Seasoned shoppers know that grocery shopping involves more than just grabbing items and throwing them in your cart. When it comes to meat and produce, shoppers should practice a bit of discretion and be a bit more selective about the items they decide to take home. 

When it comes to choosing produce, many people understand the importance of practicing the ripeness test: sniff your berries, squeeze your vegetables, and thump your melons to gauge how close they are to ripening or turning rotten. But when it comes to picking your meat, it’s a bit more challenging to discern between premium cuts and those that are not so desirable. 

Beyond just giving your packaged meat the old eyeball test, @HomeHacksCo took to their Instagram account to teach shoppers something new to be mindful of — the amount of air in the package.

In the post, examples of packaged meat with excess air in their vacuumed sealed packaging are shown. As they explain, meat packages will “bubble” as a result of a rapid temperature change. Meaning, either the meat was hot and then quickly cooled, or was cool and then quickly heated, which caused the shrink wrap to expand and leave a gap of air between the meat and the plastic wrap. And as a result, it is suggested to avoid these packaged meats as it could be an indicator of meat that was packaged or handled too quickly and is less ideal for consumption.

So in addition to the sniff, squeeze, and thump test, be sure to add the bubble test to your repertoire of freshness testing. Not so keen on the sniff test when it comes to your berries? Try this simple hack that requires just a few seconds out of your grocery store trip instead.