Whole Foods Will Sell 'Ugly' Produce In A Handful Of Its Stores In California To Help Curb Food Waste

Still delicious.

The movement to sell "ugly" produce has just recently acquired another champion. The supermarket known for its high quality — and equally high priced — products, Whole Foods, will be selling "ugly" fruits and vegetables that don't usually conform to grocery stores' aesthetic standards.

Whole Foods announced last week that it is partnering with Imperfect Produce to test the sales of less-than-lovely looking produce in a handful of their stores in Northern California beginning in April, and food waste activists hope it will eventually do so across the nation. The move is a response to a petition on Change.org that called for the company to stop rejecting wonky produce that garnered more than 110,000 signatures.

Advocates have been pushing harder to break down supermarkets' strict aesthetic requirements for produce, which cause a disgraceful amount of food waste. About one-third of the world's food — enough to feed two billion people — gets thrown out because of how it looks. And many say that one of the chief solutions to ending world hunger lies in keeping and consuming these imperfect fruits and vegetables.

"A lot of people see Whole Foods as the aesthetic," food waste activist Jordan Figueiredo told ThinkProgress, adding that it was a huge step. "For them to take this step and say, 'Look, "ugly" produce is perfectly good and we're going to take responsibility and sell this,' is great."


Whole Foods is, so far, the largest supermarket in the U.S. that has agreed to sell funky produce, but it isn't the first. 

France's third-biggest retailer, Intermarché, sold funny-looking (and perfectly edible) produce at their stores at a 30 percent discount, and saw their store traffic rise by 24 percent. Other supermarkets in Europe and the U.K. are steadily following suit, too, hopefully building a trend that will help curb food waste.

Cover image via amophoto.net / Shutterstock.com


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