Huge Quantities of Fugly Fruit And Veg Are Being Discarded Before They Ever Reach Supermarkets, New Study Finds

By Dave Meikleham on at

We've heard about the Ugly Duckling, but the Fugly Fennel? That's a new one on us. Apparently though, around a third of all fruit and veg grown across Europe never reach supermarkets as a result of being deemed too ugly for consumption.

Above image: Fruitnet

According to a new study from the University of Edinburgh, 50 million tonnes of European fruit and vegetables are discarded by farmers and suppliers each year due to their unsightly appearance.

Recently published in the Journal of Cleaner Production, the researchers behind the paper attribute such drastic wastage to the high standards set by supermarkets, farmers growing more food than they're contractually obliged to supply leading to a surplus that's simply discarded if the crops aren't deemed aesthetically pleasing, and strict government regulations relating to produce.

Speaking to the BBC, Stephen Porter, who works at the University of Edinburgh's School of GeoSciences, had the following to say on the fugly fruit matter:

"Encouraging people to be less picky about how their fruit and vegetables look could go a long way to cutting waste, reducing the impact of food production on the climate, and easing the food supply chain."

At least there are encouraging signs certain supermarkets are changing their views on mishappen fruit and veg; last year, Sainsbury's began a campaign to encourage consumers to buy blemished bananas.

So the next time you're at your local supermarket, and see a misshapen Maris Piper, do the poor potato a favour and buy it.