Getting Ugly with Food

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National Geographic encourages a beauty reappraisal

The latest issue of National Geographic (March 2018) highlights startling food wastage facts and figures. Changing beauty perceptions around food could go a long way to help alleviate an issue that we all contribute to in one way or another. 

As a part of the National Geographic’s Future of Food initiative Elizabeth Royte points out that the following in her article:

  • Approximately 2.9 trillion pounds of food doesn’t get consumed annually. Fruit and vegetables are wasted at a higher rate as they’re more prone to bruising and affected by temperature differences during transportation
  • Globally 46% of fruits vegetables never make it from farm-to-fork
  • Consumers in industrialized countries waste more fruit and vegetables

Not everything that’s bought is eaten especially the ‘bottom-dwellers’ in our own refrigerator drawers right? And some food is never bought for cosmetic reasons that have nothing to do with taste – brown patches on the skin etc.

Food waste involves wasted natural resources in production and disposal and meanwhile there are people in need going hungry.

Campaigns in Europe and Australia over the past few years are encouraging consumers to reappraise and purchase ugly food (food with aesthetic imperfections that would otherwise not be sold and wasted).

Some amazing individuals and groups are also working hard to raise awareness and stop the wastage. Find out more about them.

Anti-food wastage pioneer  and author of ‘Waste’ Tristram Stuart. He also organises ‘Feeding the 5000’ amongst his many projects.

Also look up Feedback and Oz Harvest.

Meanwhile what can you do to stop wasting food?

  • START with your own shopping and fridge management. Buy only what you need and plan when you’ll use it.
  • EAT ugly food too. Don’t toss food just because it’s bruised – make soups or smoothies not waste.
  • COMPOST scraps or feed them to your pets in creative stews and risottos.
  • ACCEPT only what you’ll eat. In restaurants say no to the bread basket if you’re not going to consume it otherwise it will be wasted.
  • QUESTION restaurant and supermarket food wastage strategies and follow the food chain. Asking questions can help others to make a change too.

A final word from Ron Clark, a founder of Imperfect, a California start up that buys ugly food and delivers to subscribers at low cost. “We’re redefining beauty, not taste.” Well said!


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