North America’s packinghouses discard about 1 percent of the produce that enters their doors … usually because it’s straight-up rotten. … The industry sorts produce into grades. Top-quality product goes to high-end grocery stores and pays the bills for the entire crop. Second-grade produce goes to food service, lower-end groceries, food banks — and, now, ugly-produce vendors. … For the most part, ugly-produce initiatives are simply gentrifying second-grade produce that was already being eaten …
As a family of two I’ve become very aware of this. Those big bargains at Costco aren’t a bargain if they go to waste. We rarely buy the huge things of spinach. Some things like peppers I can freeze on a baking sheet, put in a zipping bag and use for cooking later. I also put all manner of leftovers in omelets, even salad I loathe waste.
robert, I was about to write that I find it interesting that there have been no replies to this. Why do you suppose? Is that everyone is comfortable wasting food and don’t want to defend themselves?
Wow, I hope you didn’t break your ankles jumping to that conclusion.
I haven’t seen you making any comments. Darling.
The point of the article is that the “ugly produce” services promoted on Facebook etc. are bullshit.
Sure. But it mainly/also addresses the waste that’s occurring in our homes.
I actually joined one of those ugly produce CSAs on a lark. It was my first CSA (I’d resisted since I had a habit of going to farmers markets lost weeks) so I held in longer than I should have. But I finally had to quit because every item was just listed as surplus or something of the kind. None of it was destined to be wasted. Just another money grab.
I’m sorry. I must be slow. But, IMO, the title says “You are.” To me the point is about the consumer. We shouldn’t use any other part of the food chain as the offender when WE are wasting so much food. Am I missing something here?
Oh, come on. What then?
Or maybe it’s because this is hardly a controversial article. Of course businesses are going to maximize profits. Throwing away otherwise serviceable food just because it is ugly is a waste of money on their end.
This is not ground breaking stuff.
Community Supported Agriculture means a direct relationship with a farm.
What’s newsworthy about the article is its debunking of the phony “ugly produce” sales pitch. Maybe you don’t see those ads five times a week.
People who throw out a lot of food that’s not composted shouldn’t need a newspaper to know that’s wasteful.
I disagree with what the point of the article was.
" In truth, four times as much food is wasted at the fork — that is, at homes and consumer-facing businesses — than at the farm or packinghouse."
I’m sorry but I have no idea what you’re not getting.
As I see it, the article, @robert, and anyone else commenting are saying the same thing:
the vast majority of food waste is happening at the consumer end. Your quote basically reinforces @robert’s point (which is the same as your own).
I think everyone here is against wonton waste, though some people have better practices than others (even if they don’t post about it). Controlling waste starts with making improvements over what the individual can control. That means examining buying habits and figuring out how to use more, if not all, of the food one purchases.
What the ugly produce companies are selling is to some degree a fantasy that the consumer subscribing to their service will be doing good towards reducing food waste. What the article (and my personal experience with one such company) exposes is that farms and less desirable produce generate very little waste. I can tell you that I never received any of the “ugly” produce from my service. All of it was considered “surplus production” or something to that effect. I will say that the service was upfront about the source of their produce and other products. I think there is some waste reduction to be found in these services, but I wonder what the net effect is after one accounts for the resources needed to run the program.
Per the article, there’s no waste reduction in the “ugly produce” business, since it’s diverting second-grade produce from existing uses.
The article is less conclusive (or sure of itself) than you are.
I buy produce and toss what I don’t use all the time. I’m not going to always use an entire celery, or all of a bunch of parsley. I could go on and on, but I’m not feeling guilty. I compost sometimes, sometimes straight to the trash. We are a wealthy society, why live like we are poor and starving?
The author avoids making a categorical statement, but fails to identify any source that’s unique to the “ugly produce” companies.