You hopefully know better than to judge people by their looks, but while shopping for produce at the grocery store, you probably inspect your produce and pick only the most attractive bunch of bananas or head of cauliflower. The Ugly Fruit & Veg Campaign is trying to change that.
The campaign aims to challenge the superficial standards fruits and vegetables are held to. Long before it reaches you, produce is carefully inspected for physical flaws. 20-40% of fruits and vegetables are thrown out before they reach stands for failing to meet cosmetic requirements. As the campaign’s website states, “this equals billions upon billions of pounds of good, healthy produce left uneaten because it doesn’t look pretty.”
There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with the food being wasted. Typically, “ugly” produce is just misshapen, bumpy or maybe a different size than customers would expect. None of these physical traits change the way it tastes. Ugly fruits and vegetables are just as healthy as their aesthetically pleasing counterparts.
The Ugly Fruit & Veg Campaign was started in 2014 by Jordan Figueiredo and has already had success on a national level. So far, it has convinced Walmart and Whole Foods to sell ugly produce, largely through online campaigns and petitions. Their next major goal is Target. By convincing such key retailers to sell ugly produce, the campaign has taken enormous strides in reducing food waste.
However, the campaign believes that it’s not only on the big-name stores. It wants to convince customers to buy produce that looks funny or different. To help make this happen, Ugly Fruit & Veg encourages stores to offer up to a 50% discount on produce that normally wouldn’t have passed the aesthetic test. Especially as college students, that kind of discount makes any shaped fruit worth it!
Next time you’re grocery shopping, pick the ugly fruit, because all produce deserves love. After all, it is what’s on the inside that counts. For more information on the Ugly Fruit & Veg Campaign or to sign petitions supporting the movement, visit endfoodwaste.org.