Did you know that about one-quarter of all the food produced in the world is wasted? That means that one-quarter of the water, land, and inputs are essentially thrown away as well.
Around half of these losses could be prevented with a more efficient food supply chain—and one billion extra people could be fed if food crop losses were halved.
Our penchant for perfect produce has contributed to the massive food waste in our food supply. If you’ve ever been to a produce packing facility, you’d be amazed at the amount of fruit and vegetables that are tossed away.
These “ugly” fruits and vegetables are considered rejects; they are discarded for their perfectly shaped counterparts.
Finally, this ridiculous waste on vanity is being brought to our attention. Throwing away nutritious fresh food is having an impact on our global food security.
As global populations increase, we must begin to reimagine all the ways we can utilize more of the food we grow.
Today, more and more companies and supermarkets are promoting the sale of “ugly” produce to reduce food waste. There’s a growing business in marketing these misshapen crops as organic, eco-friendly, and better for the farmers—and the planet.
Several companies have zeroed in on this “imperfect” produce as part of their mission and campaigns. Here are some examples:
Spudsy, the famous “upcycler” of spuds, is on track to saving 1,000,000 “imperfect” sweet potatoes by 2021. Apparently, over 150 million sweet potatoes are still thrown away for not meeting size and shape standards. With their range of sweet potato puffs, also available in vegan cheese flavor, Spudsy aims to educate the world that these “flaws” don’t affect taste or goodness.
D’Vash Organics sells sweeteners, sauces, marinades, and dressings, all made from sustainably sourced “ugly” produce. Their mission is to use fruits and plants that would normally have been thrown away as natural ingredients. A large part of their campaign is also aimed at convincing the farmers not to throw anything away, even if it doesn’t meet quality standards. D’Vash Organics can always find a use for it.
Misfits Market is a global company offering mixed boxes of “ugly” organic produce to consumers. “Always Fresh and Sometimes Normal” is their motto. Their goal is to break the cycle of food waste with their funny-looking fruits and vegetables. Their main marketing focus is the difference in price. Consumers are now learning that even if their fruit and vegetables are a bit unattractive, they can still eat nutritious, delicious food, and save money!
Barnana uses misshapen bananas and plantains that would normally go to waste. It’s a fact that 50% of all bananas are wasted, which means farmers in Latin America lose half of their earnings. Barnana has upcycled 85 million bananas with their dried banana chips and banana brittle. Organic snacking is a growing trend, and people are always looking for new ways to have fun with fruit!
Many of you would rather pull apart a pineapple than rip open a bag of potato chips. This is a positive development, but people need to be educated not to exclude the ugly fruit from their snack box.
I am thrilled to see this growing trend to reduce waste and make agriculture truly sustainable.
Not only do these businesses aim to reduce waste, but their supplies are all ethically sourced, and their growers are paid fairly. With effective marketing strategies, these businesses are making profits and succeeding in educating consumers as well.
A lot of time and resources go into cultivating fruits and vegetables, no matter what they look like, and their appearance doesn’t affect the flavor or nutritional benefits.
A resurgence of sales in Organic, Non-GMO and Regenerative Organic products are signs that we are becoming more mindful about our food.
As we put more thought and care into what we consume, isn’t it time we consider the ones that don’t fit the mold?
Give one of their products a try. Bite into that ugly fruit or vegetable and enjoy!
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