The Ugly New Produce Coming to Whole Foods
Ugly is the new black—at least when it comes to your produce.
Increased focus on Americans' abysmal food wasting habits has turned the spotlight on ugly produce: Fruits and veggies that taste perfectly fine but are lacking in the looks department. They're often tossed in landfills because retailers (and, by extension, consumers) don't want to buy apples that aren't perfect spheres or potatoes with odd lumps and bumps.
But a newly announced partnership between Whole Foods Market and California-based startup is aiming to change our perceptions of botanical beauty.
Last week, Whole Foods revealed plans for a pilot program in a handful of northern California stores to test sales of misfit fruits and veggies sourced by Imperfect Produce, the ugly produce delivery service launched in August 2015. (The decision came on the heels of a change.org petition asking the grocery chain to market ugly produce just as they do traditional produce—it gathered more then 100,000 signatures.)
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"We're still in very early stages of the conversation," says Whole Foods rep Liz Burkhart. "As a business, our goal is zero waste, and we're always looking for ways to reduce our collective impact." In fact, she notes, the chain has already committed to the cause by actively sourcing ugly produce for its prepared foods, juices, and smoothies.
And even though it's just a pilot program, there's reason to believe it'll be a hit: Imperfect Produce CEO Ben Simon says that the company has sold more than 350,000 pounds of ugly fruits and veggies directly to consumers since its launch. That's a lot of food kept out of landfills.
Unfortunately, neither company's reps told us whether there were definite plans to expand the partnership to other areas of the country.
Video: Victory! Embracing Ugly Produce Improves Lives of Consumers
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