Who are You Calling Ugly?

Melissa Radiwon Marketing Manager Blog Editor

Melissa Radiwon
Marketing Manager
Blog Editor

We’ve all seen the two-legged carrot, the bruised pear, the dimensionally-challenged potato. They’re the ones in the display bin that you reach past to pick up the ideal representation of produce perfection.

The thing is, they taste the same, have the same nutrient content and deliver the same flavor punch as their aesthetically pleasing counterparts.

So what gives?

According to a recent article, How Ugly Fruits and Vegetables Can Help Solve World Hunger (Royte, National Geographic, March 2016):

Food waste ugly fruit vegetables, misshapen carrotsSupermarkets have always been free to set their own standards, of course, but in recent years upscale grocers have started running their produce departments like beauty pageants, responding to customers, they say, who expect only platonically ideal produce: apples round and shiny, asparagus straight and tightly budded.

Basically, we are shallow and superficial when it comes to our produce (so glad that doesn’t trickle over anywhere else in our society). But wait, all is not lost – there may be some hope for humanity yet.

The ReFED: A Roadmap to Reduce Food Waste spotlights Bon Appetit Management Company (BAMCO) in a mini-case study. They engaged farmers and distributors to purchase ugly produce and worked with chefs to incorporate them into menu offerings.

“Supermarkets and other retailers are offering blemished or irregular produce at discounted prices to their consumers,” says Hunt Briggs, RRS consultant and contributor to the Roadmap. “Some are looking up the supply chain and procuring off-grade produce at a discount for use in ready-to-eat salads and meals offered in-store.”

So if you think about it, if you are going to chop up the two-legged carrot to put in a stew, it really doesn’t matter what it started out looking like.


Second in a four part series, this series aims to spotlight various aspects of the recently released report ReFED: A Roadmap to Reduce U.S. Food Waste.

Brief summary of the report development: The “Roadmap” took an analytical approach to assessing where food waste occurs and the economic potential of various solutions, then outlined 27 actionable solutions. The report was developed by consulting firms Deloitte Consulting LLC and RRS, with close collaboration from The Closed Loop Fund, MissionPoint Partners, and the Natural Resources Defense Council. ReFED also built an advisory board of leading organizations across public and private sectors. For more information about ReFED and the report, please visit www.refed.com.