WRAL SmartShopper

WRAL SmartShopper

Have you heard of the Ugly Food Movement?

Posted April 14

The Ugly Food Movement is catching on and can save you big money on your produce.

Read on for an excerpt from an article written by Laura Foor from Stretcher.com.

Ugly Food 101

When we hear someone mention a certain food, our brain has already attached that particular food with a preset image. For instance, you hear a coworker say they're buying some apples on their way home. What picture immediately pops into your head? It's highly likely you're envisioning a perfectly-shaped, red apple, maybe a Gala or a Fuji? Or maybe you envisioned a perfectly smooth Granny Smith in a perfect shade of green?

Why perfect? It's because perfect equals pretty, according to your local supermarket. A place where every fruit or vegetable being sold is expected to be flawless or pretty darn close. Why? Pretty food sells.

Pretty Food

Because we shop with our eyes first, supermarkets spend a lot of time figuring out the best ways to visually grab our attention. Their overall objective is to display foods that are appealing to the eye. And it's easy for them to do. Currently, large scale farmers are required to abide by the USDA's requirement that all fruits and vegetable need to be at least 90% blemish free.

This is the main reason why the majority of grocery food shoppers have never even seen what's now being called "ugly food." In fact, American farmers alone discard more than six billion pounds of fruits and vegetables every year because they're considered to be too ugly to sell to consumers. What a waste!

Ugly Food Movement

Credit for the Ugly Food Movement can be given to Dana Cowin, editor-in-chief of Food & Wine Magazine. "The ugly food movement embraces the potential of funny-looking or smaller-sized fruits, vegetables, and other wild-looking edibles. If, as consumers, we can change our mindset so we see gnarled, twisted, lumpy or otherwise imperfect produce as beautiful, we can create demand, change the system, and ultimately help feed the world."

Since the recent launch of the Ugly Food Movement last year, large chain supermarkets are now interested in selling ugly food, too. Trader Joe's president Doug Rauch is launching The Daily Table, a store that will specialize in expired and ugly foods. High-end chain Raley's Food Store has more than 100 stores in California and Nevada and will soon be launching a pilot program in ten of their Northern California stores by the name of Real Good Produce.

Where Can You Find Ugly Food?

The best place for you to start looking for ugly produce options in your city is your local Farmers Market. You may even get a better deal because you can negotiate with the actual food producers. If your city doesn't have a Farmers Market, then ask the manager of your local supermarket's produce section if they currently sell or are expecting to start selling ugly produce anytime soon. (There could be a small, hard-to-find section where these types of foods are displayed, so asking for assistance could prove to be helpful.)

If the answer is no on both counts, ....... To read the rest of the article, please head to www.Stretcher.com HERE.

My thanks to Gary with The Dollar Stretcher for sharing this excerpt. See www.Stretcher.com for many more frugal living articles.


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  • tightwad Apr 17, 8:33 p.m.

    Lowes Foods is good at providing bruised and less than perfect produce at half price, and that's one of the main reasons I stop there because we eat a lot of apples around here. I know a lot of stores either throw away expired food, or send it to the Food Shuttle, which is nice, but I would gladly pay for it at a discount.

  • Faye Prosser -WRAL Smart Shopper Apr 15, 4:53 p.m.

    observant & luvstoQ - I agree with you both completely. Our homegrown 'maters always taste better, no matter how they look. Which reminds me...it's time to plant the garden!

  • luvstoQ Apr 15, 3:10 p.m.

    Never heard of it, but would be all for it! Having grown up on a farm and having a huge garden also, we used 'all' the produce whether pretty, or not. In fact, if for market, we sent the 'perfect' veggies to market and kept the 'culls' for ourselves, friends/neighbors - no difference in taste.

  • observant Apr 15, 10:42 a.m.

    This is the best way to get tomatoes for canning - they are much cheaper than the "perfect" ones but no different after working them up .
    My friends and I were selling less than perfect produce from our families farms 37 years ago . A less than perfect pepper may not be right for stuffed pepper but it can be sliced/chopped for recipes/salads and veggie trays . once prepped most you can not tell a difference - the home grown taste is still there .