Asda Launches U.K.'s First Ever 'Wonky Fruit And Veg Box'
(3BL Media/Justmeans) – Supermarket giant Asda has launched the U.K.'s first ever 'wonky veg box', giving shoppers the chance to buy imperfect vegetables to feed a family of four healthily for a week. Costing only £3.50 (about $5) each box is filled with seasonal vegetables, salad items including carrots, potatoes, peppers, cucumber, cabbage, leeks, parsnips and onions. The vegetables have been selected from farmers’ crops, mostly sourced from Watts Farms, because they are misshapen or may have cracks, and are sold at a reduced price; as a consequence, it may take customers longer to peel and prepare them. The discount also reflects the fact that customers may not be able to use the whole vegetable. These boxes will go on sale in 128 stores across England.
Each box also comes with a leaflet about food waste, a social challenge in the U.K., where just over one percent of food is wasted, with 200,000 tons coming from stores, according to the Waste Resources Action Programme. Of the estimated 15m tons of food thrown away in the U.K. each year, more than half is disposed of in people’s homes. Many people have praised Asda’s move, saying that it will encourage families to eat healthier while cutting food waste at the same time: a win-win.
However, Asda acknowledges that this range only solves one part of the food waste puzzle. It will continue to work with its growers to ensure as much of their crop is sold as possible by flexing specifications. This will make a huge difference for farmers. Ian Harrison, Asda’s technical produce director, says, “The initial reception to Wonky Fruit and Veg has been fantastic, and we’ve been eager to take this one step further for a while, so the challenge to make wonky veg more widely available for customers was something we happily accepted from Jamie and Jimmy.”
Asda introduced these ‘wonky fruit and vegetables boxes’ into its stores in January last year as part of its permanent range in a move that was championed by TV chef Jamie Oliver and farmer Jimmy Doherty. During the latest series of their show, Jamie and Jimmy revisited Asda’s offering, wanting to extend the range even further, and Asda accepted the challenge.
This idea works on many levels, including helping people to understand that there is nothing wrong with imperfect-looking produce. There is also the hope that it could help increase the U.K.’s vegetable consumption – something that public health professionals are constantly trying to achieve. More importantly, it allows people who are on a tight budget to be able to buy more vegetables and make them part of their diet. Asda shoppers love the Wonky Fruit and Weg; the supermarket chain has seen sales steadily increase over the last year. It looks as though wonky food products are here to stay.
Photo Credit: Asda