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Mainstream Retailers Embrace ‘Ugly’ Food

Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

Whole Foods recently announced a partnership with Imperfect Produce to test-run sales of ‘ugly’ produce in a few of its Northern California stores, which is set to begin next month. This announcement comes after increasing consumer demands for the food industry and retailers to help eliminate food waste—a petition on change.org specifically called out Whole Foods, as well as Walmart, to take steps towards becoming more inclusive with their produce selections by including more imperfect fruits and vegetables.Giant Eagle has also announced this month that the grocery chain will incorporate ‘ugly’ produce in 5 Pittsburgh store locations as part of a“Produce with Personality” pilot program.

This isn’t the first time food waste is a hot topic issue with consumers and retailers. In fact, it’s been in the spotlight over the past year among brands in the food industry. Daily Table, a non-profit grocery store in Boston that sells surplus and aged food, was opened last year by the former Trader Joe’s president. WeFood, a Danish grocery store that sells expired food, opened in February and has gained favor among shoppers. Even restaurants are addressing the topic–Shake Shack released a limited-time ‘wastED Juice Pulp Cheeseburger’ in New York City, made mostly from repurposed food products.

While the voice from consumers about minimizing food waste seems to be quite loud, is this an approach that most shoppers agree with? If other mainstream retailers follow suit with including more ‘ugly’ produce in their selections, would consumers be appalled or applaud the efforts? This particular effort to fight food waste fits with the Whole Foods brand, but is it appropriate for other grocery retailers as well?

Photo Source: National Geographic

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