The Food Waste Conundrum

by Tim Mudge

What happens to wonky food waste?

There is a lot of media time being used on the subject of “Wonky Veg” in Asda and how it helps reduce food waste. If you shop in Waitrose it is “Slightly less than perfect”, we can’t have the words Wonky and Waitrose on the same packaging! But food waste is a serious issue. From a global perspective you have people undernourished, and in many cases starving, whilst some countries send tonnes of good food to landfill. A dilemma which is going to take more than my blog to sort out. Growers strive to produce the best quality produce that meets their customer’s specifications. If it doesn’t it can be used for processing, ready meal ingredients or even animal feed. So not all “Wonky Veg” is thrown away.

The main culprits, if that is not too strong a word, are the consumers and supermarkets. Consumers either buy too much or don’t use what they have bought. Supermarkets promote multi buys which tempt consumers to over buy and then when the produce goes past it’s date it is dumped by the retailers. There are laws being proposed in France that compel supermarkets not to dump this food but to make sure it gets to someone who can use it and needs it.

So is Wonky Veg the answer to food waste? Anything which promotes consumption of healthy food is good for the nation’s health, no matter how small the contribution. It can also make it more affordable for some people, which is a great help. But maybe the waste that comes from homes and supermarkets is more of an issue because it may well be that the Wonky Veg ends up in land fill if it is not sold in time.