Business

Supermarkets step up wonky fruit and veg push

pile o bananas Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Any of these any good to you?

UK supermarkets are making more space for increasing amounts of less-than-perfect produce.

Sainsbury has started a campaign to encourage use of blemished bananas, while Morrisons has a new "wonky" range that includes avocados for 39p.

Others, including Waitrose, Tesco and Asda, have also branched out into selling misshapen fresh items.

Shops have been criticised for being too fussy, causing farmers to throw away perfectly edible fruit and veg.

But if customers will only accept blemish-free produce, there's little point in a supermarket putting it on the shelf only to throw it away unsold later.

That's one reason why retailers are giving such goods clear labelling and other promotional pushes.

Bruised

Sainsbury says it is trying to half the amount of food the average family throws away each year from its current £700.

This week it is turning its attention to the banana, with pop-up "banana rescue" stations in about 500 stores to encourage consumers to use fruit that is overripe or past its best.

The Government's food waste awareness service, Wrap, found that 1.4 million bananas are thrown out every day for having minor bruises or black marks on their skin, which it says add up to £80m in waste a year.

Sainsbury's suggestions include using them to make banana bread or muffins.

For those without the time to bake, Sainsbury reminds us that bananas can be blended into smoothies, and even chopped up to be added into fruit salads.

Paul Crewe, Sainsbury's head of sustainability and environment, said: "Sixty one per cent of Britons admit they never use otherwise discarded bananas in baking, so we want to inspire customers to use their fruit in different ways. There's no need to bin the bruised ones any more."

Tesco, which has a Perfectly Imperfect range, has a strategy that no food safe for human consumption will go to waste from its UK outlets by the end of 2017.

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