Rebecca Smithers, consumer affairs correspondent for the Guardian, has reported on a simple idea to not waste fruit just because its appearance is not standard. Wonky, as they say on the island where the English language comes from. Don’t fear the wonk, this article and this brand are saying. Was this not already happening with juice, as with other waste-reducing beverages? Can a brand be built on such an idea? Thumbs up to that:
One of the UK’s largest fresh produce growers has teamed up with a Spanish fruit supplier to create a new product, Waste Not, which will stop edible but visually ‘imperfect’ ingredients such as fresh celery, beetroot and oranges from being dug back into the soil, or used for animal feed. The new juices will go on sale in branches of Tesco.
The move is one of a growing number of innovations to reduce food waste throughout the supply chain, following criticism of supermarkets and suppliers that perfectly good food is being thrown out while UK consumers are relying increasingly on food banks.
Supermarket chains have been selling ‘wonky veg’ ranges for some time, at discounted prices to make them more appealing to consumers. In April, Morrisons added wonky chillies to its misshapen fruit and veg range – the same heat and flavour but costing 39% less than standard chillies. Defects include missing stalks, imperfect colour and extreme curves.
Meanwhile, companies such as Rubies in the Rubble specialise in making chutneys and sauces from surplus ingredients that would otherwise go to waste, and in May is launching a new range of ‘vegan-friendly mayonnaise’ (made from aquafaba, the liquid in tinned chick peas) through Ocado.
Soft fruit, root vegetables and salad are particularly prone to waste. One in 10 strawberries in the UK ended up as waste according to a recent study by the government’s food waste reduction advisory body Wrap – equivalent to 10,000 tonnes and valued at £24m. And one in five lettuces were unharvested, with 38,000 tonnes lost with a value of £7m.
Celery is one of the worst areas. Mike Bullock of Waste Not found that half all celery grown in the UK was discarded before it even gets past the farm gate. “It’s the same with oranges that are ‘ugly on the outside but still beautiful and juicy on the inside. We couldn’t sit by and watch all this healthy produce be put in the bin.”
In the US the problem is even worse. Americans throw away almost as much food as they eat because of a “cult of perfection”, inflicting a heavy environmental toll.
Read the whole story here.