What is the point of individually wrapping cheese slices in plastic, only to cover a bunch of them in more plastic?

Title.

It feels like such a waste.

EDIT:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_cheese#/media/File:Single_wrapped_slice_of_processed_cheese.jpg is the type of cheese I am referring to. It comes wrapped in a piece of plastic then bundled together with x more and all of them get covered in plastic

ElectricTrombone,
@ElectricTrombone@lemmy.world avatar

I think I can answer this. I remember when the singles came out. Used to be they had American cheese in a block. Sort of. They were sliced and stacked. This was the same American cheese/cheese product used in the singles. Exact same dimensions. The package was not re-sealable though. So I always put my block in a quart zip lock after opening. People were too fucking dumb to do this so their block of American cheese would go stale. And they complained about slices getting stuck together. Why in the world did Kraft decide to make the singles instead of changing the packaging be resealable and have wax paper like every other cheese? I have no idea.

gravitas_deficiency,

Why in the world did Kraft decide to make the singles instead of changing the packaging be resealable and have wax paper like every other cheese?

Because unfortunately, the average American is that stupid and lazy.

Source: am American and forgot how to spell camplekated words so I ju

Corkyskog,

It’s kind of convenient for grilling on the go. Have 4 patties, grab 4 slices and throw them in the top of the cooler, rather than the entire cheese pack, or repacking 4 slices.

jaidyn999,

In Australia, the only cheese you could buy in the supermarket in the 1970s was Kraft in the little blue packets sold in the dry goods section.

To buy “real” cheese you had to go to a dairy, or go to the city centre and buy cheese cut off the block and wrapped in greaseproof paper from a contintental delicatessan.

Polyethylene film was not available.

So when it came out and you could buy real cheese in film from the supermarket, Kraft responded by bringing out "more convenient " Kraft Singles, which you didn’t have to laboriously (?) cut from the block.

metaStatic,

American cheese apparently melts so at least it makes some kind of sense.

Kraft singles in Australia are basically made from the same plastic as the packaging and are in no danger of melting or being mistaken for cheese.

Kolanaki,
@Kolanaki@yiffit.net avatar

Do they not use milk to make Kraft singles in Australia the way they do in America? 🤔

Strayce, (edited )

Food tech is kinda my area, so I went and did a little research and it turned into quite a ride. For cultural context, grilled (broiled in the US, I think) cheese and Vegemite is kind of a traditional Aussie snack. Just a slice of white bread with butter and Vegemite, slice of cheese on top, stick it under the grill.

The Kraft singles I remember from my childhood absolutely did not behave like anything resembling real cheese when you did this. It melted on the inside, sure. But the outside just dried out and turned into a kind of plasticky skin, then bubbled and burned. So you were left with this partially blackened and crunchy cling-film like skin disguising a thin layer of vaguely dairy-adjacent molten plastic goop that was guaranteed to stick to and sear the roof of your mouth. Then the skin came off in one piece and slapped you on the chin with the equally hot residue of said plastic goop. For some reason kids loved this.

I’m not sure when OP last ate them, but the Kraft singles I know got axed in like 2017 when Mondelez sold their cheese line to Bega. That makes it incredibly hard to track down the original formula to figure out what in the world they were really made of. They have, however, since been re-released and claim to be at least 45% cheese, which I suspect is a lot more than the ones I remember, probably does melt, and falls pretty squarely into the “processed cheese” definition according to FSANZ. There’s no way in hell I’m buying some to try it though.

Kolanaki,
@Kolanaki@yiffit.net avatar

There is a How It’s Made episode showing how Kraft singles are made somewhere. It’s still cheese, but they also add more milk to make it meltier, as well as things like preservatives. It’s kind of like a solidified bechamel.

Other brands of similar processed cheese slices tend to made entirely with oils with zero dairy. There is a definite difference in taste and texture comparing Kraft Singles, off-brand singles, and just plain cheddar though.

someguy3,

I’m pretty sure that wrapping is part of the manufacturing process of the “cheese slice”. It matches the contours of the wrapping too perfectly.

SloppyPuppy,

I never understood why Americans eat this so called cheese. Why cant they just buy like real cheese that melts? It serves the same purpose but is actually cheese with lots of taste and aroma. I just dont get it.

CADmonkey,

American here. That oily “cheese” is gross. We have normal cheese, even normal pre-sliced cheese that doesn’t have the plastic film wrapping it. The brand I normally get for sandwiches has a plastic zip-lock package, and the slices themselves are separated by wax paper. I prefer the pepper jack, but sometimes I go for swiss or provolone.

Gruntyfish,
@Gruntyfish@lemmy.world avatar

I’m American and don’t get it either. When I was younger that was the only cheese I knew and I decided I didn’t like cheese because of it. It took a long time to realize that stuff isn’t real cheese and that the real stuff is very good.

I also think it isn’t legal to call some of it “cheese”. I know Kraft singles at the very least uses some deceptive phrasing to say it’s cheese-like or cheese-flavored or something like that instead of calling it “cheese”.

RizzRustbolt,

It makes us feel very French to eat cheddar fond.

Unsustainable,
@Unsustainable@lemmy.today avatar

It’s for lazy people. I get the ones that aren’t wrapped. They’re cheaper too.

mojo,

To get some free cheese with all that plastic you’re buying

rem26_art,
rem26_art avatar

if i buy the store brand american cheese at my supermarket, they're not individually packed and aren't really that hard to separate on their own, so lmao idk why Kraft does that.

rufus, (edited )

It probably melts and you have one block of cheese once it’s on the shelves of the store. (I’d have to test that hypothesis. But that stuff is really sticky and soft. I bet you can’t slice it and have it stay like that any other way.)

Other than that: convenience. People even buy pre-sliced Gouda.

KpntAutismus,

it is stupid and should at least not be done with plastic. there is a brand of cheese where it’s entirely wrapped in compostable plastic (has the texture of baking paper) and is seperated with the same material. the best option would be to buy cheese that doesn’t stick together easily (like gouda).

PlzGivHugs,

Odds are, because its cheaper than a cardboard box.

SnuggleSnail,

I have never encountered this product. Can you give a brand/product name example?

governorkeagan,

ibb.co/SVRjbyjibb.co/SnSB5cV

This was bought from Aldi

clif,

“American cheese”. I searched for an image and conveniently Wikipedia shows one with the clarification that it’s an “American cheese single”.

en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_cheese

But, imagine ten or twenty of those individually wrapped slices wrapped together in another bit of plastic.

You can hit an image search for “American cheese singles” and find a lot more examples.

PlzGivHugs,
Knusper,

So, what’s the yellow stuff for? To keep the bags from sticking together?

Froyn,

Any cheese by Kraft labeled as "singles" would fit the bill. I've seen American, Swiss, and Mozzarella done this way. Italics as I cannot confirm other countries would consider it cheese.

check the labels folks, "Cheese food product" is called that because it cannot legally be called cheese.

rhythmisaprancer,
rhythmisaprancer avatar

I think that even in the US it is not considered cheese, but a cheese "product."

roofuskit,

Yes, it would be illegal to label it as cheese.

piecat,

That’s only because agriculture had really great lobbyists at one point. So we have really specific naming regulations.

It’s just ground cheese with citrate.

rhythmisaprancer,
rhythmisaprancer avatar

Mmm pre chewed cheese!

I think it would be disingenuous to call it cheese since it has been processed, just like it is probably inappropriate to call a hot dog ground pork.

piecat,

Pre chewed? Huh

rhythmisaprancer,
rhythmisaprancer avatar

Ya, maybe that is a little harsh. I admit that I have consumed this product 😬

Krulsprietje,

It is a big waste! Unless your cheese melts very easily, there is no reason to have that amount of plastic.

ElderWendigo,

This kind of cheese has a very low melt point.

athos77,

The entire purpose of this cheese is is incredibly low melt point.

roofuskit,

That’s not cheese. It’s “cheese product.”

MorrisonMotel6,

It’s “orange” and “oil”

misophist,

It’s American cheese. The objectively superior cheese for melting on a burger.

gregorum,

only because it’s easy to melt, not because it actually taste better than other cheese options such as cheddar, swiss, or pepper jack.

misophist,

Oh, but it does actually taste better specifically on a burger.

gregorum, (edited )

If you like eating melted plastic

FooBarrington,

Are you scared of emulsifying agents, or what do you call “plastic”? There is no plastic in American cheese.

gregorum,

if you equate not liking something with being “scared”, that says much ore about you than it does me.

FooBarrington,

I don’t feel the need to misrepresent things I don’t like. So why do you?

gregorum,

i haven’t. just because you disagree with me doesn’t make you right. why are you so self-important that you feel the compulsion to lie? are you so insecure that starting petty fights with internet strangers is your only way to make it through the day?

it’s just cheese. it’s not that important (and neither are you).

FooBarrington,

You stated that American cheese contains plastic. It doesn’t. Why do you choose to lie about this?

I don’t “disagree”, this is a factual statement with a factual answer. You are simply wrong. Why don’t you accept that?

gregorum,

You stated that American cheese contains plastic

it’s pretty bold to lie like this when there’s a log of my comments just above yours showing that i didn’t say that. but, go on and show me the quote where i said it “contains plastic”

I don’t “disagree”

no, you lied.

this is a factual statement with a factual answer.

and that fact is that you made up a little story to make yourself feel important.

You are simply wrong

except you lied about what i said-- i never said, “American cheese contains plastic”

FooBarrington,

it’s pretty bold to lie like this when there’s a log of my comments just above yours showing that it didn’t say that. but, go on and show me the quote where i said it “contains plastic”

You literally said: “If you like eating melted plastic”. Are you going to claim that this doesn’t imply that American cheese contains plastic?

It’s pretty bold to lie like this when there’s a log of your comments just above yours showing you said that.

gregorum,

i’m not responsible for what you infer. if you misunderstood what i said due to poor language skills or for whatever reason, that’s not my fault.

You literally said: “If you like eating melted plastic”

but i accept this as an admission that you lied.

FooBarrington,

This might be the boldest attempt at gaslighting I’ve ever seen. Congratulations!

gregorum,

This might be the boldest attempt at gaslighting I’ve ever seen. Congratulations!

it’s not my first time being gaslit by someone with too much time and not enough sense. really…you did such a terrible job, leaving proof of your lies all over the place.

Rhynoplaz,

I can’t believe I followed this bullshit so far down. You both sound like children arguing over whether “if you like eating plastic” means “there is plastic in American cheese”

I’ll clear this up. “If you like eating melted plastic” is a metaphor. It does NOT imply that there is plastic in cheese, and just because the other person took that statement literally, it does not make them a liar. They misunderstood and it could have been cleared up easily by just saying “not literally”, instead of hustling insults and twisting each other’s words.

You both keep pointing out how desperate the other one is to prove their petty point, but neither of you were very eager to move on. I’m sorry to say you have both lost this battle.

PeachMan,
@PeachMan@lemmy.world avatar

American “cheese product” can fuck right off. Gouda melts just as well and actually tastes like…you know…cheese.

FooBarrington,

No, it doesn’t melt nearly as well. It does once you add emulsifying salts to the Gouda.

snausagesinablanket,
@snausagesinablanket@lemmy.world avatar

You stock emulsifying salts?

FooBarrington,

Yes, do you not? I’m still going through the package I bought 3 years ago.

infamousta,

Kenji Lopez-Alt has a cool video where he uses American cheese as the emulsifier to make some less-melty cheeses participate in a grilled cheese. I have been using it more for its emulsifying agents than anything lately: https://youtu.be/CD8UTr5mMVk?si=n5xOumvtBqromQtB

CarbonIceDragon,
@CarbonIceDragon@pawb.social avatar

To my understanding, it is actually made of cheese, just cheese that has been melted, pasteurized to extend shelf life and then cooled back into solid cheese again.

roofuskit,

If it was cheese it would be legal to label it as such.

piecat,

It’s the same reason you couldn’t call peanutbutter “peanuts”

roofuskit,

Americans owe the peanut butter grandma a huge debt. en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ruth_Desmond

GrayBackgroundMusic,

Not quite. You’re almost there. The manufacturers add emulsifying chemicals and preservatives.

jaidyn999,

Its salted curds like cheese, but its not matured. Instead mineral salts are added which absorb the water, the same sort of stuff used in corned beef, bacon and ham.

The colouring is artificial. Its naturally a light grey colour.

Vendetta9076,
@Vendetta9076@sh.itjust.works avatar

You’re thinking of cheese wizz or spray cheese.

roofuskit,

No, I’m not.

FaceDeer,
FaceDeer avatar

It bundles them together. Imagine buying a loose handful of slices, it doesn't work well.

governorkeagan,

I’ve bought plenty like that, they’re sliced and bundled together in a plastic container. Unless there is some substance between them that I’m unaware of

FaceDeer,
FaceDeer avatar

I was talking about the outer plastic.

The kind of cheese slices I'm thinking of are sort of a solidified cheeze-wiz substance, I suspect that if there was nothing between them they'd merge back together into the blob they were probably originally extruded from.

CM400,

Not only that, but iirc they are packaged in liquid form and it solidifies into flat sheets as they are pressed together.

Witchfire,
@Witchfire@lemmy.world avatar

You ever go to a deli?

NoIWontPickaName,

Those aren’t individually wrapped in slippery plastic.

That kind of “cheese” is super melty, you can get American cheese made just like other cheese, it just isn’t this.

Witchfire, (edited )
@Witchfire@lemmy.world avatar

My point is that deli slices of American cheese don’t come individually wrapped. They’re usually wrapped in wax paper and tossed in a bag. It’s only the artificially shelf stable shit that does. Unfortunately people are lazy and don’t want to wait 5 minutes so it’s more popular.

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