A lot of perfectly edible food never makes it to market, adding to the mountains of food waste
that accumulate each year. Why? Because the produce doesn’t look pretty. Apples don’t always grow perfectly round. Sometimes a single carrot becomes a double carrot. Consumers have been conditioned to expect perfect-looking produce at the grocery store, and over time, ugly fruits and vegetables have become undesirable. Grocery stores won’t buy them.
In France, one grocery store chain has decided to embrace ugly — or as they call it "inglorious" — fruits and vegetables to tackle food waste. Intermarché is buying the imperfect apples, carrots, potatoes and more from the farmers and using the imperfections as a marketing tactic. Take a look at this video, which I first saw on Marvelous
It turns out, consumers will buy ugly fruits and vegetables when they’re 30 percent less expensive than the perfect-looking ones that are right next to them. Not only are they buying them, they’re clearing the produce section of them. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the produce. It tastes the same. It has the same nutrition value. And, once it’s peeled or cut up, no one can notice it’s former ingloriousness.
I don’t know of any chain grocery stores in the United States that embrace ugly vegetables and buy them purposely, but I think it’s a great idea. I know that I’ve bought bruised fruits from the farmers market at significant savings to turn into jam, but that’s not the same as mainstream markets letting go of their standards of perfection.
If you were given the option of buying perfect-looking produce at one price or imperfect produce at a significant discount, which would you chose? I’d embrace the inglorious fruits and vegetables in a heartbeat.
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