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Food & Hunger

Ugly food works – and you can get it for 30 percent less

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Canadian grocery store, Loblaws, is expanding its offerings of “ugly” fruit and vegetables at discounted prices after a successful first year.

The company announced the “Naturally Imperfect” line about a year ago, starting with ugly apples and potatoes. “It went really well above and beyond what our expectation was,” said Dan Branson, Loblaws Senior Director of Produce.

The program will now include peppers, onions and mushrooms.

The “unsightly” or ugly fruit is sold at up to a 30 percent discount, helping Canadians afford healthier food. This is important after overall food prices rose by 4% in the last year, with fruits and vegetables rising about 12%.

The rising prices have come from a weakening overall Canadian economy that has resulted in higher prices for imported goods as well as the food shortages caused by the drought in the US State of California.

Benson told the CBC that rising food prices over the year may mean the Naturally Imperfect line will provide even more benefit to consumers now than it did over the programs first year.

Selling the ugly food will provide a cheaper alternative to consumers in addition to reducing overall food waste. Grocery stores reject up to 40% of their supply for appearance reasons. This contributes significantly to the global food waste problem.

Grocery stores selling ugly food is a step towards making sure all planted, harvested and shipped food is actually offered to consumers. Selling it at a discount is a key ingredient to making sure consumers then buy the food.

Some experts believe consumers seeing the ugly fruit can make them more aware of food waste. Awareness of food waste is key to reducing it in individual’s lives. An important goal when Canadians throw out 4.5 Kilograms of food waste a week, half of which is fruits and vegetables.