Petition to bring 'ugly' produce to Sobeys subsidiaries reaches 11.5K signatures
An unusually shaped potato is seen in this social media image (Facebook / @UglyFruitAndVeg)
Published Sunday, April 30, 2017 8:39PM PDT
Who wants a bruised apple for lunch? How about a few misshapen potatoes for dinner?
It turns out at least 11,500 Canadians would happily buy fruit and vegetables that may look unappetizing if it means reducing food waste and saving money.
A new petition on Change.org is calling on Canadian food retailer Sobeys and its subsidiaries, such as Safeway and FreshCo, to adopt an “ugly” produce line.
“Just like most of the ‘Western, developed world,’ (food waste) is a huge problem,” said Jordan Figueiredo, the anti-food waste activist who launched the petition about two weeks ago.
According to the page, about 20 per cent of all produce in Canada is thrown away before it reaches grocery stores “mostly due to cosmetic standards from large grocers.”
That includes fruit or vegetables that are bruised or have an unusual colour or shape.
“That amounts to about $31 billion dollars lost each year,” Figueiredo said.
But the petition, which is addressed to Sobeys CEO Michael Medline, proposes that the company sell these imperfect items at a 30 to 50 per cent discount.
At a time when as many as a quarter of Canadians say they’re worried about the cost of food, Figueiredo said the idea can benefit both consumers and businesses.
“Since ‘ugly’ produce is undervalued and underutilized, grocers can buy it from farmers at a big discount,” he said. “In ugly produce programs, that discount gets passed on to shoppers at an average of 30 per cent off of regular prices. With that, people can buy and eat more produce, reduce food waste and eat more healthy at the same time.”
And similar initiatives are proving successful elsewhere.
In March of 2015, Loblaws, Canada’s largest chain of grocery stores, launched its Naturally Imperfect line, offering ugly apples and potatoes to Ontario and Quebec customers. The line later expanded to other provinces, including B.C.
Safeway and other Sobeys subsidiaries have piloted similar programs in the past, but none were implemented permanently.
The petition is aiming for a total of 15,000 signatures.
Figueiredo has also started the hashtag #UglyReallyIsBeautiful to bring attention to his cause.