Bring on the ugly produce

Over 11,000 Canadians would like to see more grit to their fruit and more character in their vegetables.

A petition, which has reached around 11,500 signatures, is calling for retailer Sobeys to bring "ugly" produce to its shelves. That would include anything from bruised fruit to misshapen vegetables.

The petition was launched by anti-food-waste activist Jordan Figueiredo, who says Canada, like much of the rest of the developed world, has a problem of perfectly good food getting tossed before they even hit the shelves. That, he says, is to the tune of about 20 per cent of Canadian produce.

“That amounts to about $31 billion dollars lost each year,” Figueiredo said.

As food costs in the country are on their way up, Figueiredo's petition offers a solution that could appease Canadians worried about those costs: sell the ugly fruit at a 30- to 50-per-cent discount. That discount, Figueiredo says, could come from the farmer to the market.

"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."

B.C. has recently been included in Loblaws' Naturally Imperfect line of ugly potatoes and apples, which first launched in the chain's Quebec and Ontario stores in March 2015.

Figueiredo's petition is aiming for a total of 15,000 petitions, and is directed straight at Sobeys CEO Michael Medline.

–with files from CTV Vancouver


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