Who’s the Fairest of Them All?

In an age where we’ve outlawed plastic straws, put a price on carrier bags and seen the rise of ocean clean up companies, why is it that a third of farmed fruit and vegetables are deemed too ugly to sell and are subsequently discarded?
Now more than ever the world is realising the importance of taking care of the Earth and with this realisation, customers want to make more eco-friendly choices with their food. We’ve seen the wave of veganism sweeping the country as people start realising the effects of what they consume. In a recent study, The University of Edinburgh concluded that across Europe 50 million tonnes of fruit and vegetables are being discarded each year, in part, because the produce is deemed ‘ugly’.

If you have fruit trees or berry bushes in your garden you’ll know that often fruit doesn’t look exactly like the caricature version on display in supermarkets. Green smoothies, sweet potato fries and acai bowls, all of our favourites rely on fruit and veg, yet once you’ve blended, chopped and puréed, do you even really remember if your cucumber was perfectly straight? We think not, and it seems the country agrees with us, as the ‘rescued food’ movement is gaining serious momentum.

What can be done about this, then? As more and more people become aware of the wastage happening with ‘ugly’ fruit and veg, can any of it be saved? Keeping up with the demands of their customers, supermarkets are starting to respond to this issue. Supermarket chains are bringing out ranges aimed at fighting this problem, with Asda’s ‘wonky veg’ boxes and Tesco’s ‘perfectly imperfect’ produce. For all you juice lovers, Tesco have just launched a range of cold-presses, using misshapen fruit and veg that would otherwise have gone to waste.

It seems mind-boggling that so much food is discarded while so many people in the UK live in food poverty, especially fruit and veg which house so much goodness within them. Edinburgh based charity SHRUB decided to take a stand and have proudly opened the first ‘food rescue’ shop in the UK. Backed by retailers such as the Co-op, Tesco and Lidl, this Food Sharing Hub will offer membership and customers will pay what they think the food is worth. This is the kind of forward thinking approach that is so refreshing to see; helping people and the world, all at the same time.

Perhaps the only good thing to come from the Brexit saga will be our escape from the EU’s restrictive marketing regulations. With any luck UK government will retire them. But until then, if you’re not put off by a curved carrot, the next time you’re doing the weekly shop choose the ‘ugly’ fruit and veg.

Check out our cook books that feature some great vegan and vegetarian recipes:
Sweet Chilli Friday
Vegan North
Tasty & Healthy
Plant Milk Power