Tesco ‘to sell wonky fruit and vegetables’

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Misshapen fruit and vegetables are to go on special offer as part of plans by Tesco to cut down on food waste.

The supermarket said “wonky” produce often ends up in the bin, despite it being fine to eat, because customers will only take the “cream of the crop”.

Matt Simister, food sourcing director at Tesco, told the House of Lords EU sub-committee on agriculture that it was looking at options to salvage the unwanted vegetables, including putting them into its value range and into food service.

The supermarket denied that it had described customers as “fussy”, but Mr Simister said customers would always select the produce that looked the best.

Mr Simister said: “Customers naturally select, they always pick the cream of crop first and the rest of it then gets left.”

“Then the new deliveries come in and you have the new cream of the crop – with the old, ugly,
misshapen left and it goes to waste.

“Customers will always make the choice of the one that looks cosmetically better. That’s a very difficult reality to us.”

He compared UK shopping habits to those in Eastern Europe where shoppers are happy to buy produce which is not “cosmetically” pleasing.

Representatives from Tesco, Waitrose and the waste industry have been giving evidence to
the inquiry into food waste prevention.

Earlier this year, Tesco announced it was dropping some food promotions after finding that two-thirds of produce grown for bagged salad is wasted.