THEY have been branded as ‘wonky’ and destined for the compost heap - but now misshapen veg is heading for supermarkets in Yorkshire in a bid to tackle food waste.
Morrisons has begun a trial of sales of ‘wonky’ vegetables in 75 of its stores in Yorkshire.
The vegetables – potatoes, carrots, onions, and parsnips – have been selected from farmers’ crops because they are either mis-shapen, have growth cracks or are much smaller or larger than average. They will be discounted by around a third in price to reflect that customers may need to spend extra time peeling them or they might not be able to use the whole vegetable.
Morrisons is trialling the sale of these vegetables as part of a wider programme to tackle waste from farm to fork. This includes rolling out an initiative that aims to end the waste of edible food in supermarkets by donating it to local community organisations.
Last month the supermarket came under fire from chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, whose BBC programme ‘Hugh’s War on Waste’ highlighted “excessively exacting” cosmetic standards at the supermarket chain.
The Bradford-based supermarket said initial sales have been promising, with sales close to expectations on potatoes, carrots and onions - although parsnips were a little off the pace.
Sales in the first week have amounted to approximately £20,000 with potatoes and onions making up the bulk of the sales.
Drew Kirk, Morrisons Produce Director, said: “We are testing the sales of these vegetables in 75 stores to ensure that there is genuine demand and initial sales have been encouraging. If customers really like these products, we will roll them out to other parts of the UK.
“Clearly, the vegetables we have chosen are very seasonal. Carrots, potatoes and parsnips are often on the Christmas dinner plate. So we are giving customers the chance to help farmers out by giving their wonky carrots a home. Customers often want their festive meals to look and taste perfect so it is going to be very interesting to see whether they take to these wonky vegetables over the Christmas period.”
Wonky potatoes are being sold at £2 for a 5kg bag, onions and carrots are available at 60p in 1.5kg bags and wonky parsnips are being sold for £1 for a 1kg bag.
Some of the vegetables are being supplied from Morrisons own sorting plant at Flaxby in North Yorkshire and others by Strawsons and Abrey Farms, growers in Nottinghamshire & Suffolk.