Imagine you’re a strawberry. A ripe, juicy strawberry bursting with delicious flavor that you know would make someone very happy, if only they’d give you a chance. But unless you’re the right color and size, well, sorry, strawberry — odds are, you’ll never make it into the hands of a consumer, let alone into a rhubarb pie or yogurt parfait.
That’s right — not only is unsightly, misshapen, or otherwise imperfect produce weeded out along the supply chain journey from farm to table; most customers aren’t even open to the idea of eating ugly fruits and vegetables. As a result, an estimated six billion pounds of produce (more than 20% of the total amount grown for human consumption) goes uneaten simply on the grounds of its appearance.
Let’s take a closer look at how these imperfect fruits and vegetables are identified, and more importantly, how waste can be reduced at every step of the journey.