‘Wonky fruit and veg’ hits UK supermarket shelves

Lucy Purdy

UK supermarket giant Asda is trialling a new range of misshapen fruit and vegetables – sold at reduced prices – in what they say is an attempt to cut food waste

Labelled ‘beautiful on the inside’, Asda’s new range of vegetables features crooked carrots, knobbly pears, wonky spuds and more, sold in a trial programme which began in January. They have been on the shelves at Grantham, Coventry, Dagenham, Bedminster in Bristol and Wallington in Croydon, south London.

The plan featured in the first episode of the new series of Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast, which aired on Channel 4. In the programme, Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Doherty met farmers who told them significant amounts of fruit and veg isn’t being sold as fresh due to being ‘wonky’ or ‘ugly’. Asda’s own research suggests 75% of shoppers would buy ‘wonky’ fruit and veg if it was cheaper than regular produce.

Oliver said: “If most Brits had half an idea of the amount going to waste, they’d be snapping up ugly veg by the trolley load. There’s no difference whatsoever in taste or nutritional value. This is perfectly good food that could and should be eaten by humans.”

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Ian Harrison, Asda produce technical director, said: “Even if fruit and veg have some knobbles and blemishes, this doesn’t affect the quality or taste – a carrot is still a carrot. Customers are simply looking for great tasting, fresh produce at a value price.”

“We’ve been working very closely with our farmers to make sure we have excellent knowledge of our supply chain. Our growers are savvy and already use a large percentage of this ‘wonky’ crop for further processing, for things like ready meals and juicing, but we saw an opportunity to extend this even more.”

Most Twitter users commenting on the project were in support, with one tweet reading: “I’d buy wonky veg. After watching @jamieoliver I can’t believe how much food is wasted. I think it’s a good thing! #AllTastesTheSame.” But others argued that small shops already sell such produce: “#highstreet greengrocers have been supplying ‘wonky veg’ for decades! Jamie #supportshoplocal MORE please! #keepitreal.”

First published by Recycleopedia

Photo title: Misshapen peppers

Photo credit: © Flickr member rfduck

  • hermione

    At last some sense. Congratulations Asda. Truly hope that everyone will take up the challenge and ‘buy ugly’

  • Becky

    It seems crazy not to buy wonky fruit and veg if it’s on offer.
    I know i would buy it, especially if it’s cheaper than regular expected shapes.

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  • Mooncarrot

    I work on a farm that got out of wholesaling to supermarkets purely because they used to return (and refuse to pay for) pallets of veg that weren’t all a uniform shape.
    After decades of creating the problem we’re supposed to buy that supermarkets are now leading the charge against food waste? Yeh right, they created this problem. Spend your money at a farm shop.

  • phototrope

    Let’s be a bit more positive? Maybe they’ve finally seen the error of their ways.

  • Jiejin Lin

    Wonky fruit and veg’ hits UK supermarket shelves
    Responder: Jiejin Lin
    In China, there have lots of people live in village, country side. We farm vegetable and sometimes we still need to buy them, too, but in my village, when the vegetable looks not great in the outside, but we still eat them because they are just vegetable, there did not become a bad vegetable when they looks not good. Vegetable just vegetable, just like we are human, then we are human. People will not know how the people are from their looks. Sometimes the people looks more good at outside, but they are bad in inside, sometimes people looks bad at outside, but they are good in inside. Just like vegetable, looks couldn’t show how this vegetable is. There have lots of vegetable looks bad at outside, but they still taste really good. Sometimes they taste better than the vegetable looks good at outside. We should not do this. It only wasting foods, just like we wasting our people who have more knowledge in our country basic on looking at outside.

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