When Beauty Standards Apply to Food

By Morgan O’Connor, Marketing & High Performance Building EcoFellow

Roughly 133 billion pounds of food is wasted every year in the U.S, and 6 billion of that is produce lost before harvesting or selling. This subset of food waste is attributed primarily to aesthetics, meaning the produce was too small, too large, off-colored, scarred, misshapen, etc.

6 billion pounds may not seem like very much in comparison to all of the food that is lost, but when you consider the resources – water, fertilizer, pesticides, fuel, and space – that are expended on food that is never eaten, it leaves quite the negative impact.

Aesthetic standards prioritize uniformity, targeting the consumers’ narrow view of what their produce should look like, but these images in our heads have little to do with flavor or nutritional value. We have to rethink what our food should look like and embrace their natural peculiarities.

Consumer pressure is already working to change the minds of some of the bigger grocery stores like Whole Foods and Wal-Mart, which have both started selling imperfect produce after they each were delivered a petition signed by over 100,000 people calling for imperfect produce. So next time you walk through the aisles of your local grocery store, consider taking home the ugly duckling of a carrot or the black sheep of broccoli – it’s character will add flavor to your meal and not the landfill!

For more information on how to reduce food waste check out the following posts



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