There are signs that trials into selling misshapen or ugly fruit and vegetables are having some effect on changing consumer perception.
With backing by celebrity chefs and broadcasters such as Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Doherty, supermarkets like Asda in the UK have been selling ‘wonky’ produce. Now retailers as far afield as Canada and Australia have copied the concept.
However, not everyone is convinced. Last year Tesco told the House of Lords EU Sub-committee on Agriculture that while its eastern and central European supermarkets could sell misshapen fruit and vegetables, British consumers consistently demanded better quality.
Australian lecturer Gary Mortimer recently explained that; ‘Supermarkets that have effectively launched an “ugly food” program have gained from both a perceived positive corporate social responsibility position and increased sales.
‘Intermarché gained strong public support during the initial launch of its “Inglorious Fruit & Vegetable” campaign, selling 1.2 tonnes of misshaped fruit and vegetables across its stores in just two days, receiving a 24% increase in foot traffic, 3.6 million views on Youtube and over 500,000 Facebook likes.’
At the same time some producers have expressed concerns that selling misshapen produce for a cheaper price could allow buyers to set an artificially low price for fruit and vegetables that are subjectively imperfect, leaving sellers with the alternative of rejection?