A lot of amazing foods are less than gorgeous. Bone broth in a glass jar isn’t a beautiful sight, for one—and lots of superfoods (like maca, ho shou wu, and miso) don’t look particularly appetizing until you cook them up, take a bite, and take in their health-boosting goodness.
So why do we have such a problem with fresh, healthy produce that’s less than picture-perfect?
According to the US Department of Agriculture, the US trashes roughly one-third of its food supply, USA Today reports, while the National Resources Defense Council says we waste up to 40 percent of our food.
California-based startup Imperfect Produce and Maryland’s Hungry Harvest (you may have seen them on Shark Tank) want to change that.
They are championing so-called ugly food and have convinced mega-chains Whole Foods and Giant Eagle that just because an apple is too discolored for grocery store aisles doesn’t mean it should go to waste. (“Ugly” doesn’t mean spoiled, by the way—they’re usually too big or too small, or slightly off-color, or an unusual shape.)
Giant Eagle will offer these fruits and veggies at five of its Pittsburgh, locations, Civil Eats reports. And Whole Foods will start selling them at several of its Northern California stores starting next month, USA Today reports.
“Our goal is zero waste and we’re always looking for ways to reduce our collective impact and positively influence the industry,” Whole Foods told USA Today in a statement. (Don’t expect to see imperfect product on display, though—they’ll be added to its pre-bundled offerings.)
So with the cooking-with-scraps trend already on the rise at restaurants, ugly produce is the next wave of efforts to eliminate food waste. And why not? It’s what’s on the inside that counts.
Who else is doing their part to cut down on food waste? Top chefs are now cooking with kitchen scraps—and then there’s that one woman whose trash for the past two years fits in a mason jar.