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Accepted Misfits

Ugly Produce Gains Status


Due to customer requests and petitions, more stores are beginning to stock the one in five pieces of produce that never made the cut before due to quirky shapes or other blemishes. Often, these are displayed next to their better-looking, more expensive counterparts to give consumers an eco-friendly choice. The 133 billion pounds worth of misshapen or scarred fruits and vegetables annually plowed under, buried in a landfill or fed to livestock is sharply at odds with the reality that 48 million Americans face food insecurity.

Whole Foods Market created a pilot program in some of its California stores, testing sales in April 2016 with Imperfect Produce, a service that delivers to homes. Walmart brought weather-blemished apples to 300 of its Florida stores to kick off their imperfect role in the movement. Five Pittsburgh Giant Eagle stores call their program Produce with Personality, and focus on navel oranges, russet potatoes, peppers and apples. Fourteen Hannaford stores in Albany, New York, offer the Misfits line, while donating unsold produce to local nonprofits. Hy-Vee’s 242 stores, located in eight central states, rolled out the Misfits last December.

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This article appears in the August 2017 issue of Natural Awakenings.

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