We’ve talked before, in this space, about the appalling waste of food between field and table under the current ‘Pretty Food’ culture in the relatively affluent Western nations. Now, a consortium of Canadian food processing companies is developing new technology to address the problem…
It’s estimated that as much as 40 per cent of the food grown in Western nations is wasted because it’s not pretty enough or regular enough in size or colour to suit us picky eaters. We just can’t afford to go on this way if we’re going to feed future populations.
At the supermarket level, Loblaws has made a notable effort to encourage us to embrace ugly’ food with its Naturally Imperfect initiative, selling No-Name Fruits and Veggies with size or colour issues at deep discounts. There’s no difference in their nutritional value from regular produce. They’re just not as pretty. Ask yourself: Does the size or shape of your potato matter if you’re going to boil it and mash it anyway?
How Canadians are helping…
The new Canadian initiative, sponsored by Provision Coalition, is a partnership of fresh food processors and shippers including Ippolito Fruit & Produce, Riga Farms, EarthFresh Foods and Amazing Grains. It’s trying a new approach to sorting and grading fresh produce based on the relatively new technology of ‘chemical imaging’. It’s hoped the new tech will dramatically cut waste in the manufacturing stage of the field-to-table chain, where an estimated 18 per cent of waste takes place.The new tech will first be applied to leafy greens, carrots and potatoes.
Now, this new initiative is not just good for the world, in general. There are definite benefits for produce growers, shippers and retailers. Less waste means more product means more profit. No company would say ‘no’ to that! So it looks as though everybody wins. And that’s what it takes, these days, for a good idea to go forward.
How can you help?
Embrace Ugly Food!
Shop Loblaws Natrurally Imprfect produce aisle.
Talk up the benefits of eating Ugly Food to your friends and family.
And continue to eat well!
~ Maggie J.