Thursday, 8 December 2011


EU regulations on food create a lot of waste - fruit and vegetables that are perfectly edible but oddly shaped cannot be sold in stores, as per the EU's Commission Regulation (EEC) No 1677/88 . Only vegetables and fruit that are considered as close in appearance and size to the European ideal are given the dubious honour of Class I, with those that are not, but not grotesquely misshapen enough to be discarded, designated Class II.

The same applies to grapes. When I came across these I suspected that these grapes failed to pass muster due to their colour, not being red enough for consumption. The labelling also seemed to suggest a problem with sizing as well. Either way I found them to be perfectly fine.

And in this case, they were seedless too. Given the regular grapes cost more than twice as much, I feel rather smug about finding this. I'm still not sure what exactly made these fail classification as Class I, but if there is an opportunity to engage in a consumer's version of what finance professionals call regulatory arbitrage, I will surely take it.

DescriptionPrice per UnitNo. of servingsTrade-up PremiumTrade-up Benefits
Grapes£1.00500g1.25Choice between white, red, or red and white.


  1. I just found your blog and I've been enjoying looking through it! Good to know that grapes from Sainsbury's Basics are okay, though I'm still quite dubious of most everything else (a friend and I once tried to roast sainsbury's basics potatoes and they tasted quite bad). :)

  2. Hello Emilia, and glad to hear that this blog has benefitted you! In general I find that if you go for the Basics items where Sainsbury's would be hard-pressed to cut corners and still adhere to EU regulations and their own high standards (eg, eggs, though for ethical reasons you may still want to purchase free-range ones), you should generally be safe. Do look through the blog to see what else I have found!

  3. I've been looking for Basics grapes for a while! Over £2 for a pack of grapes seems steep for a student like myself and I'm always on the lookout for healthy snacks that can be eaten quickly by one (ie. me). However, when I had a peak in my local supermarket (Nottingham) they were nowhere to be seen! Nor do they seem to be on the website... Where did you buy them?

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Oh no! I've hit the delete button! To recap the information that was previously here - I found them in the Sainsbury's along Cromwell Road, London. They are indeed expensive, but then again, considering the climates that grapes usually grow in, they are quite difficult to import. Recent (c. March 2012) pricing on Basics Grapes seems to suggest though that the pricing is seasonal - I've seen them go for £1 or £1.50.

    As alternative snacks, there are the Sainsbury's Basics Sultanas (£0.84 for 500g), and the seasonal Sainsbury's Basics Fruit and Nut mix that usually go for £1 post-Christmas for a big bag.


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