What happens to the ugly ones?

I was interested to read that Australian retailer Woolworths are now selling ugly, misshapen fruit and vegetables. Normally when you go into a supermarket there is no variety whatsoever. Carrots all look identical and perfectly shaped. Apples are all shinny and the exact same size, with no blemishes. But if you’ve grown fruit and vegetables yourself, you’ll know this is not how most of your harvest will usually turn out. In fact, I’m convinced the “ugly” fruit and vegies actually taste better in my paleo cooking than their aesthetically pleasing alternatives.

Funny shaped ugly vegetables

This move by Woolworths does make me wonder – what do the growers usually do with this fruit and veg? The official line is that this new initiative will reduce waste – but I can’t believe they’d otherwise just let this misshapen produce rot. Surely those processed and ready meals and sauces already receive ugly fruit and vegetables? Aren’t oddly shaped tomatoes the ideal candidates for tomato sauce? Don’t they used some of the produce as animal feed?

I think most of the food waste happens in our kitchens up and down the country. How many of us are guilty of over purchasing fresh produce, with good intentions – then finding it rotting a week later? Unfortunately I can’t help but think cheaper fruit and veg would make this problem worse, as it could encourage us to buy more than we’re realistically going to eat.

Surely it would be better if we could just accept a carrot is a carrot. Instead of selling cosmetically perfect carrots and ugly carrots, can’t they just sell us carrots? Those of us making a stew could pick them at random, and those with high carrot expectations could rummage around to find the prefect specimens.

I’d love to hear your views. Would you buy ugly fruit and veg, or is beautiful produce important to you?

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