Today, vegetables and fruits fall into two categories: waste and sellable. However, in the recent times, there has been enough awareness getting build up on the ugly produce, which otherwise resulted in the food waste. Today, food waste is present throughout the food supply chain, mostly because of the poor climate control, mold, pests, and household waste. The imperfect produce usually gets turned away from the grocery stores, for not catering to the rigid cosmetic standards, which makes up for almost 40% of the overall food waste.
Today, many organizations have a goal to bring down the food waste, which gave rise to the Misfits Market. Also, there are several reasons for this taking place. It can be a very little quirk in the appearance depending on the color, shape and size, which doesn’t have any effect on the nutrition or flavor. And beyond the produce, the correctly good grocery items usually get wasted for same illogical reasons. Additionally, the grocers won’t buy or stock the goods which might get expired soon or are undergoing a packaging change, irrespective of the quality.
The attempt to minimize food loss has been recognized as an effective process to enhance food security. It’s a challenge as the population across the globe increases. Food waste contributes to the carbon footprint and our global warming.
The unattractive food is having a comeback
As a response to everything, the unappealing food is giving a tough fight. Today, an increased number of organizations are selling the ugly producing by utilizing it in the products, in an attempt to reverse the destiny of this ugly food from being a waste, to perfectly edible, nutritious, and delicious food. The increasing movement for the ugly produce has the scope to enhance food inequality by passing lesser costs to the customers and managing public perception.
Also, people got conditioned to see the brightly colored, unblemished and perfect food as edible and tasty. Hence, anything which is imperfect often gets considered as inedible. Hence, the time for this change is considered ripe. And though it can be considered dishonest to conclude that vegetables and fruits are gaining prominence, there is a focus on plant-based eating. Even the consumers are getting more aware of the food sustainability and footprint.
The customers don’t know what the standard for the perfect produce is! Everyone assumes that it moves from a farm to a grocery store. Also, people think that most tomatoes are round, red as that’s how it grows. It is not true at all. The issue of food waste is too acute that it will carry on even if an ugly produce model doesn’t get introduced. Also, today the food system in the United States wants correctly colored, shaped and sized produce, leaving several hundred million pounds of correctly edible produce on the farms.
The aspect of human consumption
The majority of the produce that gets designed today is arranged for human consumption. And with the increase in demand for the plant-based food, it will only go up. And today it’s time one finds ways for completely optimizing the produce. But there are people who argue that the ugly produce doesn’t get wasted at all. Rather, it gets used for feeding the cattle, enhancing soil health, and getting used in the overall food service industry. The ones selling the ugly produce often argue that organizations that rescue the ugly produce contribute to saving waste. There has been record of 100,000 ugly spuds that got saved along with a million imperfect sweet potatoes that got saved as well. According to reports, about 150,000 pounds of the ugly spuds gets left in the fields annually for rotting. However, as a society, we usually tend to over-grow, overproduce, and over-consume. Hence, it’s a good idea to save and use the remaining food waste to get fed to the system. And the truth is, we will always have some imperfect produce for using.
The future ahead
Today, there are companies that are developing a huge market for all the “waste product”, which will ensure that nothing gets discarded ever. These companies also offer farms with a good economic incentive for averting the waste produce. The other concern that gets levelled by the companies repurposing and selling ugly produce is the limited cash that gets passed to the farmers. Here the farmers identify that there will always be a certain amount of produce that doesn’t cater to the standards of the grocery store. It’s always a better idea to sell the ugly produce, even if it happens at a lower price. That will ensure that the ugly produce gets utilized in some way rather than getting wasted altogether. And in the coming years there is scope for that.