Feed your family for a fiver – buy the ugly produce

If you’re looking to save money and reduce the price of your weekly shop, there are several things you can do. While heading to sites like www.bakker.com for seeds and growing produce from scratch is one option, buying ugly produce from a supermarket is another. That’s right, leaving those perfectly rounded tomatoes on the shelves and opting for their odd-looking companions could reduce your bills significantly, so let’s delve further into this issue.

Obsessed with perfection
Believe it or not, there used to be a law which banned misshapen fruit and vegetables from reaching our shelves including bent carrots, curled cucumbers and knobbly potatoes. It was, quite literally, perfection or nothing – which meant an estimated 20-40 per cent of UK produce was routinely deemed unfit for shops. When the law was lifted in 2009 an expected deluge of wonky crops failed to materialise and while the supermarkets blamed consumers for being obsessed with perfection, farmers blamed supermarkets for sticking to strict technical specifications.

Waste not want not
While many supermarkets have now relaxed their specifications, a large quantity of perfectly edible food still gets thrown away, which is why TV chef Jamie Oliver and farmer Jimmy Doherty have waged a war against food waste in their new show Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast. Oliver, who has already campaigned for healthier school meals, said he thought people would be open to ‘ugly’ food stating: “If most Brits had half an idea of the amount going to waste, they’d be snapping up ugly veg by the trolley load.

There’s no difference whatsoever in taste or nutritional value. This is perfectly good food that could and should be eaten by humans. When half a million people in the UK are relying on food banks, this waste isn’t just bonkers – it’s bordering on criminal.”

Beautiful on the Inside
And it seems progress is being made. Following Jamie’s campaign, Asda – one of the UK’s leading supermarkets – has agreed to sell misshapen fruit and veg as part of their brand new Beautiful on the Inside range. The produce will be sold at a 30 per cent discount and will include everything from crooked to knobbly items that might not look great but are both healthy and perfectly edible.

Asda said the initiative was backed by its research which revealed that 65 per cent of shoppers would be open to buying misshapen fruit and veg if it was good quality and three quarters would opt for wonky produce if it was cheaper.

Asda’s Produce Technical Director, Ian Harrison said: “A carrot is still a carrot. There is still work to be done in encouraging customers to give ‘wonky’ fruit and veg a go, but we hope our campaign will break down some of those barriers and make ‘ugly’ food more accessible for shoppers and families.”

So there you have it, if you want to save money and eat well buying the ugly stuff is definitely the way forward.

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