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A third of fruit and veg produced by European farmers 'too ugly to sell'

A staggering 50 million tonnes of fruit and vegetables produced by farmers in Europe is thrown away every year, purely because they are the wrong shape or size.

 

Emily Hickman reports...

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A third of fruit and veg produced by European farmers 'too ugly to sell'

A staggering 50 million tonnes of fruit and vegetables produced by farmers in Europe is thrown away every year, purely because they are the wrong shape or size. New figures from the University of Edinburgh showed a third of fruit and veg is too ‘ugly’ to sell.

 

Supermarkets and consumers both have strong views of what fruit and veg should look like, and anything that looks unconventional does not make it to the supermarket shelves.

 

Professor David Reay from the School of GeoSciences said “The scale of food that is wasted when it is perfectly safe to eat is shocking at a time when one-tenth of the world’s population is perpetually underfed.”

 

Environment

 

Equivalent to the carbon emissions of 400,000 cars, the environmental impact of this level of food waste was significant.


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The economic loss was also considerable, as farmers will usually grow more produce than they are contracted to supply, allowing for a proportion of their crop to be rejected.

 

Some supermarkets have begun marketing ‘wonky’ fruit and veg in a bid to cut down on food waste. Morrisons were one of the supermarkets making a big commitment to ‘wonky’ fruit and veg, pledging to increase the range of seasonal ‘wonky’ products by 50 per cent in 2018, and sourcing their ‘wonky’ range directly from farmers.

 

Additionally, Morrisons were advertising their ‘wonky’ range on TV in hope that it will increase the acceptability of buying Class 2 veg.

 

Wonky

 

Tesco have also began selling an exclusive range of cold pressed juices developed by two fresh produce company’s G’s and AMC. The ‘Waste NOT’ juices are made using a variety of fruits and vegetables that would usually not meet strict grading standards.

 

Jo Batty, a fruit buyer for Tesco, said “These delicious juices are the latest way that we are helping tackle food waste by ensuring as much of the crop as possible gets used.”

 

Mike Bullock of Waste NOT said “We couldn’t sit by and watch all this healthy produce be put in the bin. The solution was literally staring us in the face, it’s our way of helping the planet.”

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