‘Wonky fruit and veg’ hits UK supermarket shelves

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