Whoa: According to the USDA, an estimated 30 to 40 percent of the U.S. food supply is wasted. But it isn’t because you tossed out the honeydew in your fruit cup yesterday—a United Nations report from 2011 discovered that one-fifth of all fruits and vegetables end up in landfills for cosmetic reasons. And yet, about 49 million Americans report not having enough to eat. Take that in for a sec.
Kroger, one of the country’s largest grocery store chains, is looking to help with its new “Peculiar Picks” program announced earlier this month. Pretty soon, you’ll see a lot more ugly produce (think mutant strawberries, curvy carrots and voluptuous tomatoes) in stores.
According to Kroger’s Senior Innovation Manager Nicole Davis, the Peculiar Picks label, launching in 2019, “will repackage so-called ‘ugly’ produce—which ‘doesn’t meet a specific color, shape or size…but still tastes delicious and is perfectly safe.’ Like they say, don’t judge a book by its cover. No details were released about the price of the Peculiar Picks, but similar initiatives at stores like Meijer offered ugly produce at 20 to 40 percent off.
Considering that the produce would otherwise go unsold, this is definitely a step in the right direction. But some worry that selling ugly produce in stores comes at the detriment of food banks, which have relied on donations of misfit fruits and veggies as a source of supply.
How can you do your part (aside from embracing fugly fruit)? Freeze your food, repurpose your leftovers, compost…and eat that honeydew—it’s good for you.