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."
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."