Chances are, right now, your fridge is filled with beautiful fruits and vegetables.
These precious picks were hand-selected by you (or someone in your household) from piles at the grocery store. Before they got to the store, they were hand-selected by farmworkers to make sure only the best-looking, flaw-free produce made it from the fields to the store, to your grocery bag, and finally home to your fridge.
And that’s a big problem. Because, just like people, not all produce looks flawless 100% of the time — and that’s OK!
Some is misshapen or bruised. Maybe it didn’t ripen perfectly. Maybe the stem isn’t in the right place. Whatever reason, that produce generally doesn’t make it to stores and instead gets shipped to processing plants or landfills.
One-third of American grocery store produce goes uneaten. That’s about 133 billion pounds of perfectly good food.
And when millions of people around the globe aren’t getting enough to eat, that’s pretty bad news.
Fortunately grocery chains around the world are trying to change that.
In 2014, Intermarche, one of France’s three biggest grocery chains, launched a campaign celebrating Inglorious Fruits and Veg. They sold the produce for 30% less than its more-attractive counterparts — and by all accounts, they sold a lot of it.
Last year, two Canadian grocery chains, Loblaws and Sobeys, launched their own campaigns selling less-than-pretty produce. Loblaws sells Naturally Imperfect peppers, apples and potatoes for 30% off, and Sobeys stores in Quebec ran a successful three-month campaign last summer selling lightly imperfect cucumbers, tomatoes, beets, carrots, peppers, and apples at a 30% discount.
“If you were to grow produce in your backyard there’s a lot that would grow that wouldn’t look as pretty as what you would see in a grocery store. And Mother Nature doesn’t grow everything perfectly,” — Dan Branson, Loblaw senior director responsible for produce, floral, and garden items.
The message is clear: It’s time to break the stigma around ugly produce.
They’re a smart addition to your grocery bag since they’re up to 30% cheaper, and buying them helps keep unnecessary food waste out of landfills. Plus, it’s hard to deny how beautiful they are:
This apple loves the skin it’s in.
This pepper is feeling it’s look.
These bruised pears know every scar tells the story of a life lived well.
These heirloom tomatoes know beauty comes in every color.
These carrots are gorgeous — inside and out.
This strawberry is all about that taste, ’bout that taste, not bitter.
This tomato has had enough of your outdated beauty standards.
These cucumbers think being sizeist is your problem, not theirs.
This pineapple is too fruitylicious for you, babe.
Here’s the great thing about imperfect produce: Once it’s in chopped into a salad or cooked into a meal, it looks and tastes exactly the same as its pretty counterparts.
For lunch today, I had two apple halves with peanut butter. One fresh from my bag of “naturally imperfect” ones. The other from my handpicked stash of pretty, perfect ones. Can you tell the difference?
Spoiler alert: Neither could I.