The way we see it, today’s problem of unreasonably high beauty standards is not unique to just people—foods are subjected to them too. Just like billboards, commercials, and magazines, our supermarkets highly curate what they offer so that their product is the closest approximation of “perfect” that they can get their hands on. Meanwhile, the food that’s deemed “ugly,” regardless of its true quality, is tossed aside and never eaten.
Much of this waste occurs at the farm level because farmers know that retailers will only buy the picturesque produce: not too big, not too small, no funky shapes, and definitely no blemishes. With no outlet for their wonky and excess produce, farms across the country waste time, water, labor, and money growing fruits and veggies that are destined for the landfill.
And food in a landfill is double trouble:
- When organic molecules undergo anaerobic decomposition (in English: when produce rots without air, as it does in a landfill), the result is methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
- Farmers make up for the loss of time and money by charging more for the pretty stuff, a cost which ultimately raises the price of the produce we buy at supermarkets.
The losses from this problem are massive; this report by the National Resources Defense Council outlines great (yet also terrible) stats. Some highlights:
- Upwards of 40% of all food in the US is never eaten
- This equates to $165 billion lost annually
- Reducing food waste by just 15% could feed 25 million Americans
While it's hard to believe that so much damage is done from the industry being so picky, it's the reality.
You can help - without giving up any time or money - by simply understanding that much of this waste is caused by excessive choosiness. Instead of shunning the ugly apple, BRÜZD believes in celebrating the natural differences in all things. We believe that it only takes a little awareness to realize that there is immense beauty in these so-called "imperfections."
And that lesson is not unique to just produce.