The idea of ‘wonky’ fruit and vegetables is a relatively new trend, but it’s catching on faster than you can say ‘crooked carrot!’
Crooked carrots would have not so long ago been an unlikely sight on our supermarket shelves, since EU regulations and supermarket specifications saw to it that only the most stereotypically shaped, sized and coloured produce made it onto the aisles for our perusal. This has caused some long-entrenched consumer buying habits, and normalised what is effectively not ‘normal’ produce.
Behind the scenes, every carrot, apple of parsnip that didn't fit these stringent aesthetic specifications is sent for animal feed or to landfill. The problem is endemic, with around 20-40 per cent of what is grown in the UK (37,000 tonnes) getting needlessly thrown away (WRAP). That’s enough to feed Birmingham or Manchester for a year, with an equivalent carbon output to 400,000 cars.
With the demand for more wonky vegetables growing, we are gradually becoming more accustomed to seeing misshapen, smaller and marked, discoloured fruits and vegetables. These are not only cheaper to buy, making them financially better for the consumer, but they reduce waste in the supply chain, which benefits growers AND the environment.
If you’re curious to know where you can source wonky veg, then farmers markets and startups such as Oddbox and Wonky Veg Boxes are a good place to begin. Many supermarkets are also launching their own schemes, including Lidl, Morrisons, Waitrose, Tesco, Asda and Aldi.