Loblaws sells discounted ugly produce in Ontario, Quebec stores
Canadian chain says it wants to reduce food waste, make healthy food more accessible
The Loblaws grocery chain is offering discounts of as much as 30 per cent for misshapen or small fruits and vegetables as part of a launch of a new line of no-name brand produce.
Starting with apples and potatoes, products under the "Naturally Imperfect" line were first put on sale last week at Real Canadian Superstores, some No Frills locations in Ontario and some Maxi stores in Quebec.
The so-called ugly produce would have otherwise been used in juices, sauces or soups, or may not have been harvested at all, the company said in a statement.
It is a good move toward reducing food waste, said Michael von Massow, an associate professor at the University of Guelph.
"As we start doing this, we can see what works and what doesn't work, what consumers will buy, what consumers won't buy,” says von Massow. “Hopefully, we'll see consumers get excited for the opportunity, and it will expand to further products."
He thinks that this move to sell odd produce can help change consumer behaviour.
"Our research says that the more we think about waste, the more we're aware of waste, the less we throw out," said von Massow. "As Ontarians we throw out about 4½ kilos of food a week, half of that is fruits and vegetables."
Von Massow added that retailers in other countries, such as InterMarche in France, have started selling ugly produce with success.
And It's not just consumers who will benefit — von Massow said that it's likely grocery stores will see a similar margin on the misshapen food as regular produce, so the discount won't affect their bottom lines.