“Imperfection is beauty,” said Marilyn Monroe—and the customers that are queuing up in increasing numbers to buy misshapen produce at supermarkets would agree.
For years, supermarkets have rejected fruit and vegetables for the slightest imperfections. Yellowed cauliflower heads, bruised peaches, carrots with bumps and lumps: all were deemed “unmarketable” by supermarket chains across the world.
But things are changing. Following encouraging sales of “imperfect” fruit and veg introduced into its shops in January 2015, UK supermarket chain Asda is now trialling a “wonky veg box”. The box gives a home to veg that would previously have been thrown away and features peculiar potatoes, kooky cabbages, odd onions and more.
The produce within will retail at a price 30% cheaper than standard fruit and veg and the supermarket say that it contains enough food to feed a family of four for a week. The reduced price is not due to quality, rather because customers may need longer to peel and prepare them because of their unusual dimensions.
The move was prompted by British celebrity chefs Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Doherty, who used their programme, Channel 4’s Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast, to challenge the supermarket to further their range of misshapen goods.
Ian Harrison, Asda’s technical produce director, said:
“The initial reception to wonky fruit and veg has been fantastic and we’ve been eager to take this one step further for a while, so the challenge to make wonky veg more widely available for customers was something we happily accepted from Jamie and Jimmy.”
The product will go on sale in 128 shops across the UK. Asda says that there’ll now be 340 tonnes more carrot and 300 tonnes more sweet potato for sale per year than there would have been under their previous selection criteria—which hopefully means far less waste.