Embracing "ugly" food, or food that is bruised or imperfect, has been a growing movement over the last couple years in an effort to help stop food waste. Not only does eating ugly food help the environment, but there were also talks earlier this year that ugly fruits and vegetables might even be the healthier choice.
Now Walmart, America's largest grocery store, is getting in on the trend. In an announcement on their blog earlier this week, Walmart said that this week they were stocking 300 stores in Florida with the "I'm Perfect" apples. The exterior of these apples might be unfavorable, thanks to Mother Nature, but the texture and taste apparently are the same as beautiful apples. The apples will eventually be available in 12 varietals and sold in five-pound bags.
This addition to the grocery store at Walmart comes on a larger initiative to curtail food waste. Walmart has been selling "Spuglies," or ugly potatoes, in 400 grocery stores across Texas since April 2016. And in Asda, Walmart's UK grocery chain, they were offering "wonky boxes," or 11-pound boxes of ugly produce that were sold at a discounted rate.
NPR asked JoAnne Berkenkamp, a senior advocate for food and agriculture at the Natural Resources Defense Council, about food waste in the U.S. According to Berkenkamp, there is currently no good documentation on how much food is tossed due to its looks, but that "we've typically found that growers reported [cosmetic-related] losses ranging up to 20 percent of production in a given year, but it could be higher in years of bad weather."
With Walmart hopping on this environmentally friendly trend, there's hope that more "ugly" fruits and vegetables will actually be used instead of going to waste.