How often do you eat food that doesn’t look good, or looks a little odd? I have to say I eat a lot of food that doesn’t look good as that’s the sum of my cooking skills – I promise you it does taste edible, even if it doesn’t look it. But have you ever considered eating weirdly shaped fruit and veg? Or do you just go straight for the stuff that looks good out of habit?
Eating weird and wonky fruit and veg could cut food waste, a poll by Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IME) has reported. The Guardian states that the survey found that most British shoppers are not put off by irregularly shaped produce.
The poll questioned a nationally representative sample of 2,007 people in the UK and found that more than 80% of British shoppers would be happy to buy fruit and vegetables which are not perfect in shape or colour.
The poll from IME showed that fewer than one-in-five people would only buy produce that is unblemished and uniform in size and shape. In the poll, 45% of people said that the appearance of fruit and vegetables doesn’t matter; 26% said they would buy the cheapest option, and 10% said they would actively seek out and choose imperfect looking produce.
In January, another report by the IME estimated that between 30% and 50% of the food produced worldwide is lost or wasted. They found that vegetable and fruit crops around the world are frequently not harvested or do not leave the farm after failing to meet tough quality controls on physical appearance imposed by retailers and supermarkets.
Weather affects harvests
Our poor excuse for weather in the UK doesn’t help matters when it comes to fruit and veg. The poor summer last year left some supermarkets struggling to keep shelves stocked with fresh produce and found them having to take a different direction and apologise for the fact that some fruit and vegetables were of a lower quality than usual. When winter rolled round, things didn’t get any easier with flooding and heavy rainfall making the situation worse.
To help ease the situation, Sainsbury’s even relaxed its rules on the cosmetic appearance of fresh produce and allowed fruit and vegetables that would normally be ploughed back into fields to be sold in its 1,012 stores.
With food waste being such a problem and the UK throwing away 15 million tonnes per year of food, is eating a wonky carrot so bad? Would it take the price being cheaper for people to consider it, or would you just take it as being normal if these types of vegetables were on the shelves every day?