#WhatTheFork: “Ugly” Fruits and Veggies Are Storming Social Media…Is Your Grocery Store Next?
That’s a funny looking carrot, huh?
You might think it’s one in a million, but plenty of people are finding similarly quirky, bizarre, and “ugly” produce and posting photos on Twitter and Instagram. And it’s all in support of a campaign to get U.S. supermarkets to cut back on food waste.
“We throw away nearly 26% of all produce before it even reaches the grocery store due mostly to cosmetic standards from large grocers that dictate exactly how fruits and veggies should look,” writes Jordan Figueiredo, a solid waste specialist and founder of UglyFruitandVeg.org, the organization behind the campaign. “If produce fails to make the grade for size, shape, or color, retailers deem it ‘ugly’ and refuse to sell it in their stores.”
Figueiredo and culinary nutritionist Stefanie Sacks, MS, CNS, CDN, and author of What The Fork Are You Eating? launched a petition that calls on Whole Foods and Walmart to cut food waste by selling “ugly” produce like the kind seen on @UglyFruitAndVeg. It has already garnered nearly 96,000 signatures since it was launched a month ago.
Figueiredo and Sacks are proposing that Whole Foods and Walmart follow the example of Raley’s and stores in Europe, Australia, and Canada that sell less than perfect produce, often at at a discounted price. In France, supermarket giant Intermarche promoted their sale of ugly produce with the “Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables Campaign,” which led to a 24% increase in store traffic.
Selling this produce is “low hanging fruit,” according to Figueiredo. It has environmental benefits since food waste is one of the biggest contributors to landfills. And when sold at a reduced rate, it can make produce affordable for the one in six Americans who are food insecure.
Figueiredo notes that this change in business practice could have ripple effects throughout the farming industry as well. He says farmers, who are often forced to toss or leave perfectly good fruit and vegetables because grocers won’t buy uglies, will be able to provide more produce to those in need.
Do you want to Walmart and Whole Foods to embrace ugly produce? Sign the petition.
We scrolled through the gallery of produce and pulled out the fruits and veggies that are likely just as delicious and healthy as they are bizarre looking. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to buy some of these things in a produce aisle near you?
The 10 Most Fabulous “Ugly” Fruits and Vegetables of Twitter and Instagram
1. Eggplant as wristwear
— @UglyFruitAndVeg (@UglyFruitAndVeg) August 24, 2015
2. It’s a heirloom turtle
3. A little less cuddly than the real thing
— @UglyFruitAndVeg (@UglyFruitAndVeg) August 21, 2015
4. A devilish tomato
— @UglyFruitAndVeg (@UglyFruitAndVeg) August 6, 2015
5. Carrots in need of a soak
— @UglyFruitAndVeg (@UglyFruitAndVeg) August 15, 2015
6. A couple of nosy eggplants
7. This pineapple is branching out
— @UglyFruitAndVeg (@UglyFruitAndVeg) July 26, 2015
8. ET phone…parsnip?
9. A strawberry chicken
10. The cutest little potato
Here are some other petitions that might interest you: