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Jamie's War on food waste

(65 Posts)
Teetime Sun 04-Jan-15 12:33:02

Jamie Oliver's new programme on Friday evening documented the amazing waste of perfectly good vegetables from our farms because supermarkets specify that they will only take perfect veg. Jamie and his team demonstrated well that the public do not mind what he called 'wonky vegetables' and in fact feel they look more natural and can be keenly priced. Apparently Asda is taking up the challenge and going to stock these in some pilot stores. Farmers are only receiving £10 a ton for these veg as animal food - its shocking. I know without asking that Gransnetters would be happy to use these veg but would still be good to hear some views about the waste.

Liz46 Sun 04-Jan-15 12:52:23

Most of the vegetables from our allotment are 'wonky'. It really doesn't matter.

Grannyknot Sun 04-Jan-15 13:04:29

I bought "less than perfect" fruit at reduced prices last year from Waitrose, they were trialling it.

We were horrified listening to a mushroom farmer that we met on holiday last year - he told us that Tesco buys his mushrooms at a very low price already - calls the shots price wise - and then he has to "buy" preferential display positions by paying for that to move the produce - all of which of course means that it was difficult for him to make a profit. He was only doing it for a few more years - holding out for retirement.

granjura Sun 04-Jan-15 13:06:23

In France one of the super-markets has started to sell 'an ugly fruit and veg' range (fruits et légumes moches)- perfectly good but a bit wonky- much cheaper. It's proving a great success and has increased the number of visitors and purchases all round too- probaly the reason others are following suit. Inter-Marché for those living in or near France. Bravo.

Grannyknot Sun 04-Jan-15 13:06:49

That's an aside!

Most of our home grown vegetables are not perfect - who notices? Where did the big supermarkets get the notion from that people want "perfect" veg?

granjura Sun 04-Jan-15 13:08:02

Grannyknot- in a way it is not fair to complain about the supermarkets' behaviour- WE the customers dictate it- and what happens to farmers (look at the milk being sold by most supermarkets as 'loss leaders').

Anniebach Sun 04-Jan-15 13:34:36

I assume supermarkets got the notion that customers want perfect veg by the amount of perfect veg bought and the amount of less than perfect left on shelves ,

Anya Sun 04-Jan-15 13:53:25

i really object to calling fruit and vegetables ugly. Beauty is only skin deep and plants have feelings too.

granjura Sun 04-Jan-15 13:55:36

Big difference to veg or fruit which are spoiled in some way- or just mis-shapen. A cucumber which is a bit shorter, or a bit too curvy, or less curvy- but perfectly healthy and sound. But yes, as said above- WE the customers are responsible for a lot of the pricing and stocking.

Coolgran65 Sun 04-Jan-15 13:58:47

As long as they are not over ripe I'm happy...... hate waste....

Ana Sun 04-Jan-15 14:05:04

It's not that I want 'perfect' veg, but out of a box of loose carrots I would tend to choose those without lumps and bumps because they're easier to peel. Same with potatoes. So I expect supermarkets do get more misshapen veg left at the bottom of the box...

Teetime Sun 04-Jan-15 14:15:28

Jamie was keen to point out that the 'its easier to peel' argument especially for carrots is that they don't need peeling just scrubbing and as most of the vitamins are just under the skin that's what I do and it all gets eaten - more roughage too.

Grannyknot Sun 04-Jan-15 14:16:21

granjura I take that point - but expensive organic home delivery services make no excuse for selling misshapen stuff. So, what came first: big supermarkets with bully boy tactics, or consumer self-selection?

I buy my veg based on how fresh it seems, I can honestly say I never look at the shape.

granjura Sun 04-Jan-15 14:42:41

Agreed to Ana and Grannynot- it just shows we the customers perhaps have to change how we perceive what is 'good' - is shape more important than being fresh, or not ladden with pesticides, etc?

The thing with the 'fruit et légumes' moches- is that they are avaiable separately from the perfect ones, and at a significantly lower price- so the customer can make a conscious choice.

soontobe Sun 04-Jan-15 15:21:01

My local supermarket now sells teeny tiny potatoes, whereas it hasnt for several years.
Not sure if that is the same countrywide?

granjura Sun 04-Jan-15 15:46:16

tiny potatoes are very popular here in FRance and Switzerland in winter- as they are served with a favourite winter dish 'raclette' (hot molten mountain cheese scraped onto potatoes and served with pickes).

FlicketyB Sun 04-Jan-15 16:53:38

Picking and choosing vegetables and avoiding the misshapen ones dates back to long before supermarkets. Whenever my mother or grandmother went to the green grocer they would pick and choose the best of everything. Anything substantially misshapen or below par would be sold more cheaply. In fact as long as people have been going to markets or shops (how many thousand's of years?) this has been happening.

The problem with the supermarkets is that they set exceptionally stringent rules for perfection. If an apple is a few millimetres above or below their stipulated size; it is rejected. If the red blush on an apple is a few percentage above or below the stipulated amount; it is rejected. Yet if we saw these apples on a market stall we would happily pay full price because their 'imperfection' is only obvious to a supermarket buyer tasked with screwing the price down even lower.

Stansgran Sun 04-Jan-15 17:41:51

In Japan in the supermarkets they are fanatic about perfect looking fruit. They even started a fad about square melons . Our japanese friend thought strawberries were something she must have even though imported and the wrong time of the year and she didn't share. As we were paying for the food I tried one, tasteless but looked perfect.

FarNorth Sun 04-Jan-15 17:45:13

Anything substantially misshapen or below par would be sold more cheaply.
That's the point - at the moment they are not being sold to the public at all.

granjura Sun 04-Jan-15 17:59:53

Indeed FarNorth, and that s the issue.

Flickety, the problem with this need for perfection', as well as the waste- is the fact perfection in looks has overtaken perfection in other ways. It does not matter if fruit tastes of nothing, as long at is looks good on the shelves. The sort of fruit you take home and have to ripen on the window sill- and by the time it is ripe still tastes, at best of nothing, at worst like **! Give me mishapen fruit that actually taste of fruit- bliss.

FarNorth Sun 04-Jan-15 19:17:51

Maybe it's something Aldi & Lidl should take up, in their cheap 'n' cheerful way!

granjura Sun 04-Jan-15 19:37:07

I'd say you are missing the point there, sorry FarNorth- on the other hand, it would be brilliant if Waitrose and Sainsbury's took the idea up first, somehow.

jinglbellsfrocks Sun 04-Jan-15 19:58:14

I had some of that raclette at the Xmas market we went to in Basel granjura. Was delicious!

FlicketyB Sun 04-Jan-15 20:18:38

granjura I absolutely agree. When the fruit is rejected it is usually returned to the supplier and by then cannot be sold elsewhere so it gets composted or ploughed in.

Anya Sun 04-Jan-15 20:34:59

Plenty of nutritional value is left in a peeled carrot.

The deep orange color of a carrot indicates the presence of beta carotene, a precursor of vitamin A, and when you peel the carrot, it is just as orange when you take off the outer layer.

There is a possibility of pesticide residue in the skin. So IMO best to peel unless they're organic.