North Texas Daily

Want to stop wasting food? Start eating ugly fruit

Want to stop wasting food? Start eating ugly fruit

March 31
03:38 2016

Morgan Sullivan | Staff Writer


An abnormally shaped apple lies in a bin, resting helplessly among the other rejects. Discarded. Unloved. Deemed unfit for sale just because it looks a little different. It’s “ugly” in society’s eyes and will go to waste.

Every day, hundreds of pieces of produce like this apple are discarded by major grocers, each of these proprietors having strict cosmetic regulations about what produce can be sold. Fruits and vegetables are discarded because of small size, abnormal shape or off-putting color. Other than small superficial differences, this produce is exactly the same as fruit deemed acceptable to sell.

The organization End Food Waste estimates about 26 percent of produce is wasted in the U.S., meaning literally billions of pounds of healthy produce go to waste just because its deemed “ugly” by grocers. It’s about time that changes.

Starting in April, grocer-chain Whole Foods will begin to sell so-called “ugly fruit” in hopes of cutting down on unnecessarily tossing out food in a hunger-burdened world. This places the retailer among three other grocery stores nationally that have committed to selling “ugly” produce. Other major grocers should take note.

In a world where we have (mostly) learned how to accept others for their physical appearance, we are setting a confusing double standard when it comes to what we put into our bodies.

Certainly, all healthy produce tastes similarly. In fact, smaller produce is even said to have more taste than its bigger counterparts. Plus, your stomach doesn’t know the difference when that apple is crushed up inside of it.

Real fruit has imperfections, just like real people do, and wasting so much when others around the world have so little is unacceptable. Anything that grows naturally is going to look slightly different than its counterparts. We aren’t cloning groceries here; we can’t expect every piece of fruit we pick up at a grocery store to be a perfect replica.

We teach our children not to judge a book from its cover. We teach acceptance of other races, cultures, and religions. If we’re lucky enough where the only problem we’re faced with regarding our food is that of which apple to buy, we should learn not to be so picky.

It’s simple: we as a society are wasteful, and it is time we look past tiny imperfections for the greater good. Our planet needs us to be the best humans we can possibly be, and ending food waste is a great way to get a head start.

Imperfections are what make the world beautiful. Uniqueness should be valued, not rejected and hidden.

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