Why do all the fruits and vegetables look the same when we go shopping? Do you ever go to the store and see the rows of vegetables and fruits neatly stacked building a pyramid of oranges or apples? This is what I grew up seeing as a child and still see this as an adult. I never thought about these displays until this morning when I read an article from National Geographic. I highly recommend reading it!
53% of Food is Wasted
When you sit back and look at the world, around 800 million people are hungry and 53% of food is wasted (National Geographic). That 53% includes anything from vegetables not picked and put on the truck to what we throw away in our fridge. We are all guilty of tossing that bruised apple we forgot about, right?
I am astonished at that number, 53%! That means more food is wasted than food is eaten. While I would love to stand on my soap box and advocate for change, I can’t because I’m realizing I am part of the problem. Just yesterday I threw away a handful of grapes and a few lemons because they were bruised or busted open. *shame! – cue Game of Thrones shame walk*
Where does Waste Occur Most?
In North American most of our fruits and vegetables are lost during picking. Upwards of 20% of these items go unpicked or don’t make it to the production step. Food is being left behind people! What?!?
Ugly is the New Pretty
Most of the fruit and vegetables that you purchase are symmetric, bright, and similar to others of its type. Do you ever see a deformed carrot? Pepper? Not likely. If you are at a farmers market you might but we are focused on your local grocery store. These abnormalities, which are typically only based on appearance, is the reason why our food waste is so incredibly high. Ugly food doesn’t sell!
How can we change this? Shop local and buy the ugly fruit and vegetables. There is nothing wrong with food that doesn’t look pretty. When I garden most of my vegetables are oddly shaped. Does this change the taste of them? Absolutely not!
What do you see in your grocery store? How do you feel about waste in your country, home, or community?