Want Something Wonky?

This week we learned that more than 80 percent of Britons are willing to buy produce of imperfect shape or color. At least that’s what they said when asked that in a poll conducted by The Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

Note–they weren’t asked about fruits and vegetables with blemishes or bruises, but just the so-called “ugly” fruits and vegetables. So everything from straight bananas to curvy cucumbers.

Yet, the question looms: Is this just talk? Of course people are going to say they’ll buy imperfect food. But in reality? Many of the grocers I’ve talked to are skeptical; what people say and do, are two very different things.

But–if the numbers are any indication–a good portion of Britons actually might buy ugly produce. British household food waste decreased by 13 percent from 2007 to 2010. That means that folks in the UK are heading the message that sites like Love Food Hate Waste, UK supermarkets and the mainstream media regularly spread. Plus, Brits are more prone to heed the anti-waste message than Yanks because food rationing in the UK didn’t fully end until 1954.

So those polled in Britain may indeed want something wonky. Especially the 10 percent who said they actively choose imperfect looking foods.

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  1. Posted March 7, 2013 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    I think people do vastly over-estimate their “good actions”, and I constantly have to catch myself picking through the apples for the best ones even though I know that they’re all pretty much perfect!

    Good point about the blemishes and bruises. Those types of imperfections are definitely a harder sell.

  2. Posted March 10, 2013 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for your input, Jen. We’ve been trained to seek perfection, and so we do!

    Blemished produce is definitely a harder sell, but there are plenty of uses for it, be it in-store or out.

  3. WilliamB
    Posted March 19, 2013 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    At farmers’ markets I often bargain for “seconds” – produce that is bruised, ugly, damaged, etc. I use it in cooked products such as pie, fruit sauce or butter, and spaghetti sauce. The actually damaged stuff needs to be used quickly but it’s still a good bargain – my max price is half of what the “good” stuff goes for. If it’s the end of the market you can usually get a really good deal, as low as 25%.

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