With harvests of British fruits and vegetables cut by 25 percent after the driest March in 59 years, the wettest June and autumn floods, the UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s is doing the unthinkable. Sainsbury’s is allowing stores to put “ugly,” blemished, misshapen, knobby fruits and vegetables on the shelves, the Guardian reports. As much as 20 to 40 percent of UK produce is rejected due to its appearance and is often simply plowed back into the ground, says the UK Soil Association.
Contending that too much food is rejected purely because it does not meet cosmetic standards, food and poverty activists are hailing Sainsbury’s decision. Drought, frost, rain, wind: while leaving their nutritional value unscathed, the weather is not kind to fruits’ and vegetables’ appearance. The Guardian also notes that supermarkets’ demand for good-looking produce ultimately drives up prices, as farmers raise these for the food that is considered acceptable.
Judith Batchelar, director of Sainsbury’s food, acknowledges that stocking produce with an “unusual appearance” is something of an about-face. . . .