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We're trialling 'wonky' veg to cut food waste - with Jamie Oliver

Wonky veg

We’re trialling a new range of misshapen fruit and veg – sold at reduced prices – after working with TV chef Jamie Oliver on ideas to help cut food waste.

Labelled ‘Beautiful on the Inside’ the new range features crooked carrots, knobbly pears, wonky spuds and more, all sold reduced rates in their own dedicated in-store fixture. The trial will begin at five stores from today (26th January):

  • Grantham
  • Coventry
  • Dagenham
  • Bedminster (Bristol)
  • Wallington (Croydon)

The pioneering initiative featured in the first episode of the new series of Jamie & Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast, earlier this month on Channel 4.

Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Doherty

In the programme, Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Doherty meet farmers who told them significant amounts of fruit and veg isn’t being sold as fresh because it’s wonky or ugly. They then approached us to suggest running a small trial in store to understand customer perceptions of wonky produce and whether they would be willing to buy it.

Our own insight suggests 75% of shoppers would buy ‘wonky’ fruit and veg if it was cheaper than regular produce.

Jamie said: “If most Brits had half an idea of the amount going to waste, they’d be snapping up ugly veg by the trolley load. There’s no difference whatsoever in taste or nutritional value. This is perfectly good food that could and should be eaten by humans.”

Ian Harrison, our produce technical director, said: "Even if fruit and veg have some knobbles and blemishes, this doesn’t affect the quality or taste – a carrot is still a carrot. Customers are simply looking for great tasting, fresh produce at a value price.

“We’ve been working very closely with our farmers to make sure we have excellent knowledge of our supply chain. Our growers are savvy and already use a large percentage of this “wonky” crop for further processing, for things like ready meals and juicing but we saw an opportunity to extend this even more."

He added: "There is still work to be done in encouraging customers to give “wonky” fruit and veg a go, but we hope our campaign will break down some of those barriers and make ‘ugly’ food more accessible for shoppers and families."

Our wonky fruit and vegetables have also been given cute little characters: Carlos Citrus; Paul Potato; Suzie Swede; Claude Carrot; Alfie Apple and Penny Pear.

Ian said: “We hope customers get behind our wonky fruit and veg campaign and if it’s a success, there could be an opportunity to expand the trial across other fresh produce lines, offering customers more choice and value with the wonky range.”

Posted in News & Blogs on 02 January 2015