Do you buy wrinkled and oddly shaped fruits and vegetables, or do you choose to ignore them in favour of the perfect first grade produce?
As part of a global effort to end food wastage, the Ugly Fruit and Veg Campaign celebrates so-called ugly fruits and vegetables, and is campaigning for people to buy this kind of produce.
Is there a place for it in South Africa? I think so. Even the EU looked at second and third grade fruits from South Africa, due to the sunlight and fantastic weather that we have to produce this type of fruit— Christo Joubert, agricultural economist at the National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC)
According to Christo Joubert, agricultural economist at the National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC), when fruits and vegetables are graded, the outside and the size of the produce is looked at to determine its grade.
He says that third grade produce, the category which ugly fruits and vegetables usually fall under, usually tastes just as good as first grade produce.
There is a demand for first grade at a specific premium, and yes South Africans are prepared to pay for it, but not as much as the supply side of it which is why were're seeing the exports— Christo Joubert, agricultural economist at the National Agricultural Marketing Council (NAMC)
The Ugly Fruit and Veg campaign argues that in the United States, strict cosmetic standards from grocers in that country dictate how fruits and vegetables which are to be stocked and sold should look like.
The campaign says that because of this, about 20 billion pounds worth of produce is left uneaten because of this.
Although in South Africa the situation is not as costly in South Africa, Joubert says that due to the dynamics of the market, a lot of first grade produce is being exported from South Africa.
Listen to the conversation below:
Listeners on #NightTalk weighed in with their thoughts on why people might favour or not favour ugly fruits and vegetables...
I deliberately choose produce that is odd sizes and misshapen.... Stuff that is labour intensive, that has lower transport involved, that has lower pesticide. I've got no problem with that— Dennis from Cyrildene
Sometimes you get deformed fruit, for example a banana that is oddly shaped with two heads, at the back of my mind I'm always thinking maybe if I eat this, I might grow an extra arm— Luke from Fourways
If the farmer does not produce genetically modified food, the consumer doesn't have it— Eric from Randburg
@GugsM I also don't like ugly bananas, but they work well in shakes. So instead of eating them, I blend them into shakes and they taste okay— Quevenjanice (@JaniceTerry_) October 11, 2016
No. They are hard to peel https://t.co/hKdXmM8Yc9— Lady K (@Katley_FBO) October 11, 2016
Veggie shaming is a thing? https://t.co/ZPLCbyLJwH— Buza (@Mthokzz) October 11, 2016
Stop body-shaming fresh produce! https://t.co/pXatpn589B— Deep Fried Man (@DeepFriedMan) October 11, 2016