The Truth About Whole Foods' $6 Pre-Peeled Orange

In 2016, there was certainly a lot happening in the world. The United States was in the midst of an exceptionally contentious election season, a Zika virus outbreak was spreading through the Americas, and Brie Larson won the Academy Award for Best Actress. Social media was certainly keeping busy, buzzing about current events as it is wont to do. But in early March, there was one current event that caught the attention of the Twitterverse and actually went viral enough to inspire change in real life. The news was that Whole Foods had recently started selling pre-peeled oranges in plastic containers for $6 a pop. 

The product was immediately lambasted on social media for its wastefulness. "If only nature would find a way to cover these oranges so we didn't need to waste so much plastic on them," user @awlilnatt, whose real name is Nathalie Gordon, tweeted. "I shared the picture because I couldn't believe that anyone could use plastic in such a wasteful manner, especially Whole Foods...Point is, Whole Foods has an unhealthy relationship with plastic, and I think they need to address that as a wider point," Gordon later explained to CBS News.

Whole Foods called the oranges a 'mistake'

Gordon was as surprised as anyone when Whole Foods actually responded to the criticism that same day, tweeting back to her: "@awlilnatty Definitely our mistake. These have been pulled. We hear you, and we will leave them in their natural packaging: the peel." Liz Burkhart, the company's Senior Media Relations Specialist, then elaborated: "Orange and tangerine slices have long been a staple favorite in our stores, and we'll continue to offer them along with other sliced produce options for customers who are looking for added convenience."

However, the pre-peeled oranges might not have been as useless as some people thought. For some individuals with certain disabilities, a lack of mobility in their hands can make it difficult to peel an orange. "This is terrible...There are a lot of people who, for many reasons (arthritis for one) would have great diff peeling an orange," one person explained. While the convenience of the pre-peeled oranges may have been a boon for some, the high price point and excess plastic ensured the grocery chain stuck to its word and pulled the product from their shelves.