Waste Not, Want Not
Every year some 2.9 trillion pounds of food—about a third of all that the world produces—never gets consumed. It’s enough to feed the nearly 800 million people worldwide who suffer from hunger, more than twice over, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Losses in the food system occur throughout the supply chain. Food is lost on farms; during processing, distribution, and storage; in retail stores and food service operations; and in households for a variety of reasons at each stage. Studies have shown that in medium- and highincome countries, such as ours, that even when food reaches our markets, homes, and dinner plates, it is wasted and lost mainly at these later stages in the supply chain
Included in this American food waste problem are some six billion pounds of produce that go largely unharvested or unsold largely for aesthetic reasons, on an annual basis. These scarred vegetables are regularly abandoned in the field to save the expense and labor involved in harvest. Or harvested and remain unsold, and then left to rot in landfills because of minor blemishes that do not necessarily affect freshness or quality. These outcasts are being called “ugly produce” or “imperfect produce” by the media - or produce that is deformed, wonky, crooked, or misshapen. When US No 1 produce hits the store shelves and restaurants, the largest portion of American food waste occurs at this late stage in the supply chain.
Some of us are bringing awareness to the problems this ugly waste is causing our planet and us. Through the Ugly Produce Is Beautiful program, we hope to encourage you to buy and cook with ugly produce, and to build a community - a community of those of us who feel passionate about changing the ways American’s think about ugly produce - that it’s actually beautiful, nutritious, and can be used in recipes - and, in turn, to help prevent so much food waste.
It’s not too late to invoke change in the way we eat and how we eat, and what and where we buy. Ask your local grocer to bring in more ugly produce to sell at a discount. Educate yourself about this Ugly Produce Problem and how devastating it is to our planet in terms of waste and pollution. Write your local or state government calling for change. But more importantly: Actions speak louder than words! Put your money where your mouth is! Money talks, so spend your produce dollars at your local Farmers’ Market and buy ugly produce! Others will take notice!
We want to help prevent food waste and showcase ways to use what we call misshapen or ugly produce. Visit www.UglyProduceIsBeautiful.com and follow @UglyProduceIsBeautiful on Instagram to learn more about how you can help to bring awareness to our Nation’s enormous food waste problem.