In praise of wonky veg

After its trial of misshapen fruit and vegetables, which we reported on last year, Asda is extending its Wonky Fruit & Veg brand with two new ‘ugly’ products: sweet potatoes and garlic

A spotlight has been newly focused on the issue following Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s BBC show Hugh’s War on Waste, which set out to explore why the UK wastes a third of all food. Though Asda now sells a small range of ‘beautiful on the inside’ fruit and vegetables – classed as cosmetically imperfect – campaigners are calling for all supermarkets to do much more.

The charity Feedback, founded by Tristram Stuart, run ‘gleaning’ sessions in which volunteers visit farms to collect and redistribute produce that would otherwise be wasted. They recently gleaned 20 tonnes of parsnips from a farm in Norfolk and passed them on to food poverty charity FareShare, which created 250,000 portions for vulnerable and hungry people.

Feedback combine public campaigning with research and expert advice on food waste reduction, which they communicate to decision-makers in government, business and the third sector.

“To show the potential of gleaning in the UK, you just have to look at more established gleaning networks around the world, like the amazing Society of St Andrews in the US, which has saved more than 164 million pounds of food for America’s hungry since 1988, with more than 400,000 volunteers,” said Stuart.