Some Winnipeg grocery stores to sell 'ugly' produce at a discount

Loblaws is expanding its "ugly" produce program across Canada, including to all of Winnipeg's Real Canadian Superstore and No Frills locations, the grocer announced Thursday.

Loblaws rolls out No Name Naturally Imperfect discount produce line at stores across Canada

On Thursday, Loblaws announced it's expanding its "ugly" produce program across Canada, including to all of Winnipeg's Real Canadian Superstore and No Frills locations. (Sam Martin/CBC)

Winnipeggers will soon have access to more affordable produce — but it's not going to be pretty.

Loblaws is expanding its "ugly" produce program across Canada, including to all of Winnipeg's Real Canadian Superstore and No Frills locations, the grocer announced Thursday.

The program sells misshapen fruits and vegetables for a lower price, a strategy that European supermarkets have been taking advantage of for years, to cut down on food waste.

"It's funny. I've seen the Inglorious Fruit program [from France's Intermarche supermarkets] and it was something that we were working on probably at the same time," said Dan Branson, the senior director of produce at Loblaws. "Different people were looking at different areas."

Loblaws said the move provides a market for farmers to sell their misshapen fruit to reduce food waste.

"Food waste is something that we've all heard a lot about. Really it's been something that's been very difficult to quantify.… I think we are reducing some waste," Branson said. "Our growers are really under pressure financially."
Misshapen produce, like this alluring carrot, will be part of the new national Loblaws produce program called No Name Naturally Imperfect. (Jeannie Cole)

Loblaws has branded their line of "ugly" produce No Name Naturally Imperfect and priced the fruits and veggies about 30 per cent cheaper than their more attractive counterparts.

"What we have rolled out right now in some regions is onions, carrots, potatoes, apples and mushrooms, and we're evaluating more opportunities," said Branson. "You're going to be seeing more and more as the year progresses."

Branson said the food has the same flavour and nutritional benefits — it's just not as good-looking.

They started with an ugly produce pilot program last year, and now, it's being rolled out across the country at a time when the cost of produce has surged due to the low Canadian dollar.

"[Canadians] voted with their dollars and they really got the program," Branson said. "Something doesn't need to look good to taste great. Value and access to healthy eating food is something that's important to people." 

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.