Ugly fruit and vegetables destined for livestock feed or the rubbish have been given a new lease of life.
Countdown has launched ‘The Odd Bunch’ initiative, where misshaped fruit and vegetables are sold for a reduced price to reduce food waste and make healthy food more affordable.
Carrots, onions, plums and avocados are the first to be rolled out.
The Odd Bunch availability is based on both the season and supply, and stock will vary from store to store. The Odd Bunch will also be available online when it is stocked in-store.
Countdown’s general manager merchandise Chris Fisher says in a press release, “Shoppers have long favoured and demanded perfect-looking produce, but we hope to challenge that thinking with The Odd Bunch. It makes sense on so many levels, for shoppers, growers and the environment”.
The produce is packaged in plastic, which can be recycled at selected Countdown stores.
“The Odd Bunch is actually packed by our growers, on the farm or at the orchard,” Mr Fisher says.
“They do this to keep the Odd Bunch separate from the other fruit and veges. We have received some feedback regarding the plastic bags and we do acknowledge the importance of sustainability, hence wanting to use a bag that can be recycled. We are already reviewing other options of packaging for The Odd Bunch in the future.”
Love Food Hate Waste spokeswoman Jenny Marshall says in an email to Healthy Food Guide imperfect fruit and vegetables can still be delicious.
“Cosmetically challenged carrots taste just as good and are just as healthy as perfectly shaped carrots.”
Ms Marshall says it is important for shoppers not to go overboard and buy more than what they need.
“Make sure you have a plan and some recipe ideas for how to use this produce up, otherwise you may be the one that ends up throwing them away.”
And in regard to the plastic packaging, Ms Marshall says, “Whilst plastic packaging is a concern for zero-waste advocates, it does stop people cherry picking the best looking of the ugly produce, and ensures all fruit and vegetables have an equal chance of being bought”.