Ugly Groceries are Good for You and the Planet
Posted on Wednesday, March 16th, 2016 at 7:02 pm
Many people who are shopping for groceries seek out the most beautiful produce they can find. They avoid packages that have been slightly damaged in favor of pristine ones. It may come as a surprise that ugly groceries are good for you and are also very good for the planet.
In Canada, a supermarket chain called Loblaws has started selling ugly fruits and vegetables. They launched a Naturally Imperfect line that offers misshapen, blemished, imperfect apples and potatoes to consumers.
The funny looking produce is just as healthy as the ones that look perfect. Loblaws offered these less than lovely foods to consumers for a lower price than what the perfect ones cost. It turned out to be a success, so Loblaws is going to expand its Naturally Imperfect line with more types of misshapen but healthy produce. Some other Canadian grocery stores have started offering ugly produce, too.
A grocery store in Denmark called WeFood started selling foods that are expired or that have damaged packages. WeFood is a “social supermarket” (which means it serves low-income people). The decision to start selling foods that other grocery stores would throw away turned out to be a hit with customers.
WeFood sells things like treats for a holiday that happened last week. They also sell things like boxes of cereal that have a rip, or a bag of plain white rice that was mislabeled as basmati. WeFoods also sells foods that are nearing their expiration dates. There isn’t anything wrong or bad about these foods, and customers can purchase them for a lower price than usual.
Ugly groceries are good for you. The most obvious reason is the ugly groceries – unusual looking produce, or food that is inside a slightly damaged package – cost less than their lovely counterparts do. It is an easy way to save money on quality foods. People who are low-income need to stretch their dollars, and ugly groceries are a way to do it.
Some people worry that food that is near its sell-by date has gone bad. This is a mistaken belief. In reality, the sell-by date was designed to tell grocery stores how long to display a product for sale. The sell-by date does not have mean the food automatically goes bad after that date has passed.
Ugly groceries are also good for the planet. Funny looking vegetables, that are perfectly healthy to eat, often get thrown in the trash instead of sent to the supermarket. Grocery stores generally throw away food that is past its sell-by date, but is still safe to eat. This leads to a lot of food waste that can easily be prevented.
Photo Credit: Russ on Flickr