If handling raw meat in the kitchen gives you — or your favorite millennial — the heebie-jeebies, a new touch-free product may be the answer to your prayers.
On April 15, major British supermarket chain Sainsbury’s announced that they will roll out touch-free packaging on their store brand raw chicken in a few weeks so anxious cooks can avoid contact with the moist meat, The Sunday Times reports.
Sainsbury's was inspired to roll out the new offeirng after a focus group found that 37 percent of millennials reported that they “preferred not to handle raw meat” while they cooked their meals, according to the Telegraph.
“Customers, particularly younger ones, are quite scared of touching raw meat,” Katherine Hall, Sainsbury’s product development manager for meat, fish and poultry, told the Times. “These bags allow people, especially those who are time-poor, to just “rip and tip” the meat straight into the frying pan without touching it.”
Hall further divulged that she suspects Sainsbury’s young customers dislike handling the raw meat due to a “lack of education” on food safety or penchant for dining out, noting that they'd “prefer someone else” cook their meat for them.
While this may be a savvy marketing tactic on Sainsbury’s part, one expert on the opposite side of the aisle is wary about the larger implications for such a product.
"We find it disconcerting that shoppers are so removed from their food that they have these concerns. But we are aware it is a growing trend — and a lot of the data suggests there are concerns about handling raw meat,” Ruth Mason, chief food chain adviser at the National Farmers’ Union, told the Times.
Unsurprisingly, the Twitterverse both championed and condemned the notion of the straight-to-pan product.
“So they are adding MORE plastic packaging when other retailers are trying to reduce? Crazy @sainsburys ! If you can't bear to touch raw meat you shouldn't be eating it,” one critic said.
“Wrong move @sainsburys 1. You are introducing more plastic when others are leading the way trying to reduce it. 2. What about the other 67 percent who have no problem with it?! Just use tongs or a fork!! #banplastic #reducereuse #boycott,” another detractor agreed.
Others, however, voiced their support.
“I’m 48 and no way am I touching raw meat. When seasoning etc will turn it round in the pot stirring all the seasonings in same with oil or anything. Tipping chicken out of packaging," one wrote.
For better or worse, the touch-free packaged chicken from Sainsbury’s will hit shelves on May 3.