Supermarket Coles is celebrating its odd shaped veggies with a discount “I’m Perfect” range to help reduce food waste.
The grocery giant’s new range of flawed fresh produce including apples, pears oranges, lemons, onions, carrots and sweet potatoes, is now available at stores in Victoria and South Australia.
Coles general manager of produce, Brad Gorman, said it is working with suppliers to reduce food waste.
“Our customers know that regardless of shape, size or any small cosmetic blemishes, Coles produce is fresh and bursting with flavour. So when we were thinking how to package produce that looked a little less than perfect, we thought we’d celebrate the fact that great-tasting fruit and veggies come in all shapes and sizes. The I’m Perfect range will introduce our customers to millions of pieces of fruit and veg that they may otherwise never have met,” Gorman said.
Adelaide Hills apple grower, Tony Ceravolo, said all their fruit is grown outdoors and exposed to the elements. While they do their best to minimise weather impacts, sometimes Mother Nature proves too strong.
“For two years running, the Ceravolo Orchards were hit by a devastating hailstorm, damaging up to 90 per cent of their harvest. With far less premium grade fruit for us to sell and an abundance of fruit with minor to major defects, Coles really got behind the Hailstorm Hero’s campaign and helped us recoup some of our costs by encouraging people to by perfectly good fruit that was a little freckly on the outside,” Ceravelo said.
He praised Coles’ decision to market the less than perfect veg, saying it’s “win-win-win – a win for customers, a win for us, and a win for reducing food waste.”
Coles has previously worked with suppliers to reduce their food waste by redirecting produce that doesn’t look the best to other value-added products such as Coles Own Brand zucchini noodles, sweet potato noodles, sweet potato chips and broccoli and cauliflower rice.
“All of these products help reduce food waste and increase overall crop yields by utilising vegetable pieces that typically would not be sold at retail level,” said Gorman.
Coles works with food waste charity SecondBite where it has donated more than 36 million kilograms of unsold food to date, resultling in 72 million meals for those in need, from 2011 to 2018.
The Australian supermarket has also begun sending its organic waste to anaerobic digestion plants in Western Australia and New South Wales to be converted to clean energy and compost.