What People Are Missing About Lidl’s Pre-Peeled Onions

published Jan 18, 2018
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Vytautas Kielaitis)

Of all the great and gory kitchen tasks we face everyday, few are quite so aggravating as preparing onions. They hurt people’s eyes and make people’s hands smell onion-y. Eating onions would hardly be worth all the effort, if it weren’t for the fact that they make food so much more delicious. You can’t make a mirepoix without cutting a few onions, after all.

Despite the fact that preparing onions is not a fun kitchen task, grocery giant Lidl is coming under fire on social media for selling pre-peeled “naked” onions wrapped in plastic for nearly twice the price of regular onions.

According to The Sun, Lidl’s two-pack of peeled onions costs 79p, or about $1.09, while a four-pack of regular onions costs 89p, or around $1.23. That means one regular onion is about 31 cents, while a peeled one is 55 cents. That’s a pretty big markup, so if a person is able to comfortably peel an onion, the unpeeled ones are clearly a much better deal.

The onions being more expensive than the unpeeled onions is to be expected. Someone has to peel the onion, after all. But the main thing people on social media are upset by is the plastic packaging.

Whenever products like this hit the news, it’s tempting to assume the only people who would buy them are just lazy. But it can be helpful to ask oneself who a product like this might be useful for, if not oneself. A peeled onion might actually be very handy for a person who has mobility issues or difficulty peeling things.

It’s true that these onions are only peeled, not chopped, and few recipes call for whole onions. But chopping and peeling are different motions. Some people can do both, some can do one, and some can’t do either. Personally, I could chop onions all day, but I do have some trouble peeling oranges. My husband has to peel them for me, and if I lived alone I would just not eat oranges. Missing out on onions would be more difficult than oranges, though, because onions are in the vast majority of things I like to cook. It’s not unlikely that I’ll have trouble peeling onions someday, and if that happens, I could see myself buying something like Lidl’s pre-peeled onions.

Peeling onions is often cited as one of the most difficult kitchen tasks to do with arthritis. There are “hacks” for peeling onions, but they often involve things like boiling the onion for five minutes and then running it under cold water so the skin falls off. At that point, a person might well be willing to pay 24 cents extra to buy an onion with the peel already off. Some people with arthritis use food processors if chopping is too difficult, but an onion would still have to be peeled before going into the food processor.

Peeled onions aren’t the problem; it’s the plastic holding them. Lidl says it’s working with suppliers to reduce the amount of packaging it uses and to increase the amount of its packaging that is recyclable. Lidl also told The Sun that the peeled onions are a pilot program that is being tested at the moment, and that customer feedback would be considered.

What do you think of pre-peeled onions in the supermarket?