The amount of food that restaurants, groceries, and even households waste per day is staggering. With hunger still being a prominent problem in many parts of the world, it’s harrowing to think that people aren’t doing enough to ensure that they don’t waste even a crumb of bread.
Supermarkets are the primary source of food waste especially when it comes to the produce they sell. These stores throw away goods for many reasons. Some have reached and surpassed their peak freshness, others have “imperfections” which are deemed not market-friendly. These are just a few problems why food is thrown away.
One of the trends that hopes to make the most of what we have – even with imperfections, is ugly produce. The name itself isn’t very appealing but the cause is noble for this food trend. Here’s everything you might want to know about ugly produce and why it might be one of the sustainable ways for food management in the future.
What Is Ugly Produce?
To put it bluntly, ugly produce is a product that has been rejected by stores and local sellers because of deformities. These deformities come in many forms which include size, shape, and discoloration. Other than that, there’s nothing else that’s “wrong” with fruits and vegetables that fall under this category.
You can get ugly produce from various suppliers. For the aptly named Misfits Market, all you need to do is order from them and you’ll receive your shipment of ugly produce in a few days. For many, ugly produce is a means to earn money off of unwanted goods for some people but it’s definitely more than that.
In truth, ugly produce has been around for a long time but it’s only until recently that people have come up with a name for it. Produce rarely comes out in perfect shape so you can imagine exactly how much food we waste annually. The good news is that ugly food turns things around for what we waste.
It’s Here To Limit Food Waste
One of the most jarring problems in America is the amount of food we waste. While the cooked and processed food is wasted a lot already, what many don’t know is that stores and produce suppliers are also guilty of creating food waste. Any small imperfection can result in a piece of fruit or vegetable being thrown away.
Ugly produce is meant as an answer to the growing food waste problem. Instead of throwing away the produce, we have people buy them instead. Now, those people will no longer have to go out and buy more produce as they already have ugly produce with them.
By resolving the problem that lies at the start of the production line, the ugly produce movement is able to save tons of food waste annually. Just to give you an idea, the US wastes around 150,000 tons of food daily. To make matters worse, the majority of those wastes are fruits and vegetables.
What makes ugly produce even more effective is that it gives people access to fresh and cheap produce. Food wastes are thrown out and left to spoil. Thanks to ugly produce, however, those unwanted fruits and veggies get delivered to deserving homes instead.
There’s An Ecosystem Around It
Surprisingly, ugly produce has its upsides for business owners too. It’s not just regular people benefitting from it. For instance, restaurants can actually save a lot of money by opting to get ugly produce delivered instead of regular produce. Since they are going to process the food anyway, the imperfections won’t do them any harm.
Due to its sustainability, there’s an ecosystem of businesses that’s being built around ugly produce. Some companies even buy ugly produce to make other products. For example, Montreal, Canada-based LOOP used ugly produce to make cold-press juices.
More and more investors are actually seeing the merits in ugly produce and just how sustainable it can be. As more financial support is poured into the movement, we can expect to see more people who’ll become a part of the ugly produce ecosystem and this has many implications for the world moving forward.
It Can Help Climate Change Too
One of the unique things about this sustainable food trend is that it answers more than one problem. Aside from fixing the growing food waste problem, ugly produce is also said to be an answer to climate change concerns as well and it all has to do with how we usually handle wasted food.
According to experts, the way we dispose of food waste is in no way environmentally friendly. All-in-all, it takes up 30 million acres of land, 2 billion pounds of fertilizer, 780 million pounds of pesticides, and 4.2 trillion gallons of irrigated water. That’s a lot of problems for the environment.
By avoiding the disposal of food wastes, people can effectively avoid wasting other valuable resources like water and land as well. This makes ugly produce an answer to climate change and it’s an ally that many people didn’t expect initially.
It’s Growing Stronger
As stated earlier, the ugly produce movement is gaining more and more traction – not just from farmers, families, and markets, but also with entrepreneurs and investors. This unprecedented growth means only good things are to come for the movement and many are excited to see what’s next.
Despite seeing how far it’s come, the goal of using ugly produce remains still – it’s to prevent food waste. As more people embrace this new lifestyle, we can expect to see a decline of the food waste that the world creates on an annual basis. Maybe in the future, we can allocate that food to where it’s needed most.
Ugly food doesn’t sound pleasing in any way but once you get a deeper understanding of what it’s for and what it hopes to achieve, you’ll undoubtedly become a supporter of the movement as well. With so many delivery options available, getting ugly food is as easy as making a few clicks on the internet.