Why You Should Shun Supermarket Perfection And Buy More 'Ugly' Fruit And Veg
In a bit to reduce food waste and promote positivity, Asda recently announced that they would be selling a box of 'wonky veg' that can feed a family of four for just £3.50.
While we may be used to buying our bag of carrots or batch of bananas that generally have a uniform appearance, embracing 'ugly' veg is one of the ways in which everyone could benefit from cheaper produce which is commonly rejected by the big supermarkets and ultimately goes to waste.
Food waste on a massive scale
A report by the BBC revealed that a staggering 40% of fruit and vegetables are rejected by supermarkets because they are deemed 'too ugly' to sell. In a time where a million people relied on food banks between 2014 and 2015, the thought of all that food being discarded because it doesn't meet an aesthetic standard is frankly ridiculous.
As a nation we have grown accustomed to the identical fruit and veg sold to us, however if it all tastes the same, what's the harm in a few freaky looking carrots? Asda will be selling their discount wonky veg boxes in 550 of their national stores as a means of continuing to gauge reaction by customers.
So far if social media is anything to go by, people are wholeheartedly embracing the ugly veg revolution. Not only is it a great way to reduce food waste but it's also cheaper than the 'pretty' alternative.
What's the difference really?
Arguably one of the biggest changes that embracing 'ugly' fruit and veg is that these offerings will differ from other supermarket produce because they will actually be limited by the season.
The fact that you can buy strawberries all year round, or exotic fruit like mango and pineapple is something which has only become possible thanks to advances in importing fruit and the use of chemicals on crops to grow them in climates that aren't naturally suited to producing the fruit or veg.
If you were wondering what the cosmetic requirements for the vegetables you buy in supermarkets were, it's fair to say that they're beyond ridiculous. Especially since it all ends up cooked and on a plate.
The Government has a strict set of food standards that supermarkets must adhere to if they want to sell fruit and vegetable to the public. Rules like these mean that perfectly good food that tastes the same often doesn't make it from the farm to the supermarket shelves.
Three different food classes apply, for example Class I (the best) tomatoes may have a "fine blossom scar" but only if that scar is "not longer than two thirds of the greatest diameter of the fruit."
These rules may be in place to make sure nothing harmful makes its way to the customer, it also means that vast amounts of crops are being totally rejected.
A global effort to reduce waste and feed more people
Asda isn't the only supermarket to make more of an effort to selling affordable and conscious food. Already countries like France are adopting laws that ban supermarket food waste and other UK chains such as Sainsbury's and Tesco are finding ways of flogging ugly veg to the masses.
Here's hoping that in the future we'll learn that we shouldn't judge a carrot by its colour, and ultimately make sure everyone can have access to tasty, affordable fruit and veg!
By Kate Lismore, published on 22/02/2016