America wastes enough food each year to feed a hungry country: 63 million tons of it, from the field to processing plant to stores to homes.
Every year, American consumers, businesses and farms spends $218 billion a year on food that is thrown away. It’s food that is unharvested or unsold.
More depressing data:
Nonprofit and foundations have developed solutions to limit the waste. How long they will take to filter down through the supply change is another issue, since there is no federal mandate to do so.
One small thing we can do, as consumers, is to buy ugly produce wherever you find it.
That’s not likely to be in grocery stores, but sometimes in farmers markets and delivery services.
Three delivery services that sell slightly ugly (not grossly misshapen) organic produce are:
The produce they select is only slightly imperfect, per the criteria below. You may not even notice that there’s something a bit off; but grocery store produce managers do.
For sure, after you slice and dice, no one will notice; and they taste just as delicious (maybe even better!).
Ugly produce is that which goes into the landfill. It tastes just like other produce, but is misshapen, too small, or otherwise unappealing to grocers and consumers.
Grocery stores have a very high standard of aesthetic look for their produce.
It’s a sad fact that in the U.S., many fruits and vegetables are chosen for their beauty rather than their taste. But that’s what consumers want to buy.
Why throw away perfectly good produce just because it doesn’t meet arbitrary aesthetic criteria?
One in five fruits and vegetables go to waste for the most superficial reasons:
Discarded produce can also include some non-beauty issues like:
Every delivery helps to save at least 10 pounds of food from going to waste, along with all the resources (water, oil, GHGs) used to grow it (source).
Try a box of ugly produce for yourself; send a subscription as a gift for your favorite cook.
“Imperfect” produce is also cheaper. Check out:
We wish you could order a box for Earth Day, but because of COVID-19, new customers aren’t being enrolled right now.
Just put your name on the waiting list and you’ll be contacted as soon as the quarantine is over.
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