How the Ugly Food Movement Can Feed The World
February 25, 2021
You’ve heard the saying, “Beauty is only skin deep.” Well, that holds true for the food that we eat. Or, rather, the food we choose not to eat.
In developed countries, billions of pounds of produce and other food items are wasted every year simply because they do not meet export or shelf requirements. We never even have the option to buy these goods because produce on the supermarket shelf is required to be 90 percent blemish-free.
However, fruits and veggies on our kitchen counter shouldn’t have to be Instagram-perfect when consuming produce is about taste and nutrition, not about appearance and aesthetic quality. We’ve gotten so caught up in the look of our food that we’ve forgotten what’s really important. This sentiment is exactly what the Ugly Food Movement stands for.
The Ugly Food Movement aims to stand up for those not-so-attractive crops and fight widespread food loss and waste. Contributors to this movement work tirelessly to alter mindsets, set up food banks, and lobby for change, all so blemished foods can find their way to our tables. The movement has been gaining popularity recently, and, with the still-unresolved hunger crisis, it’s about time.
The amount of food that goes to waste for failing to meet aesthetic standards would easily feed all the hungry in the world two times over. This is heartbreaking considering the wasted produce is perfectly edible and holds nutritional value equivalent to blemish-free counterparts. And yet, people go hungry.
While we are squandering food, we are squandering resources. Food loss on the agricultural side and food waste on the consumer side means we are wasting the limited resources we have to produce food. Land to produce, freshwater to grow, time, effort, and capital all go into the wasted crops as well. With the amount of usable soil waning, we can’t afford to continue this way.
If ugly food is not used to reduce world hunger, it creates an even bigger problem. When food is left to rot, one of the main by-products is methane, a dangerous greenhouse gas. Considering the amount of unused produce left on farms and sent to landfills, the amount of methane being released into the atmosphere everyday as a result is a scary thought.
Raising awareness and supporting the Ugly Food Movement campaign is the first step to making this right. Ugly food may look unappealing, but the nutrition it provides is the same and millions of people in the world could benefit from having access to it. The success of the Ugly Food Movement also helps farmers because it reduces waste and increases sales. This, in turn, improves food security, makes more efficient use of Earth’s limited resources, and cuts greenhouse gas emissions from the wasted food.
Instead of fussing about the blemishes on our bananas, apples and oranges, it’s time to realize that those imperfections are perfection in their own rite. The next time you’re at the store, send a message by opting for the ugly produce option.
If you sell produce at your place of business, consider requesting the ugly produce from your supplier and promoting the Ugly Food Movement. For any business owner brave enough to take a stand, we’ll take 5 percent off your next order of beeswax food wraps. Just email a picture of your ugly food display to email@example.com.
For all other business owners, we want you to support the movement too. Let us know what you’re doing and how we can help.