The Uglier the Better: Imperfect Produce Trend
Farmers dump them. Supermarkets and restaurants reject them. Consumers have historically avoided them. But it seems that imperfect produce might finally have its day in the Sun.
Childhood trips to the grocery store involved spending an unnecessary amount of time tugging at my mom’s shirt as she would pick out the vegetables worth taking home. It was a beauty contest. Various tomatoes and potatoes must’ve been left feeling inadequate, as she went about rummaging and comparing in her search for the prettiest produce. My mother is not a vain woman, she sees beauty in the most ungodly places. But we’ve been conditioned over decades to expect perfect-looking produce. Perfect generally equates to being uniform in shape and color and being blemish-free. Nobody wants bruised apples or wonky carrots. But turns out, “ugly” foods are just as tasty and nutritious as their supermodel counterparts.
The “ugly food movement” is taking off around the world in response to global warming and the problem of food waste. Solution-driven food trends are the new big thing and ugly food might soon take its place beside local food, veganism, organic food, and environmentally conscious eating. The problem of food waste is no joke; it’s the third highest source of methane emissions and the costs of unconsumed produce chalks in at hundreds of billions.
The changing attitude towards imperfect produce is in no small part thanks to marketing efforts across the globe. Despite the popular name of the movement, retailers aren’t using the word “ugly.” More tactful terms are preferred, such as “inglorious”, or “naturally imperfect”.
This is definitely a food trend that won’t cost you an arm and a leg, in fact, most vendors offer discounts on imperfect produce. If you’re interested in incorporating sustainability and mindfulness into your life, pick up that freaky looking turnip, don’t sleep on that dented avocado. Be kind. Ugly is still sort of cute.