The consumer cooperative “Ugly fruit” buys directly from farmers the products rejected by supermarkets and sells them to consumers at delivery points. Each week, each delivery point with 300 consumers, saves the waste of more than a tonne of fruit and vegetables.
Those responsible for the Portuguese “ugly fruit” project explain on their page that in Europe about 30 percent of fruit and vegetables are wasted due to their appearance. At the origin of the project is the fact that consumers go to the supermarket to choose the most beautiful fruit, and since supermarkets do not sell ugly fruit, they stopped buying it from farmers, so 30 percent of the fruit goes to waste due to colour, size and shape.
According to their website, “the main goal of Ugly Fruit is to reduce food wastage due to aesthetical reasons”. Every product that is rejected by the regular distribution channels due to an unwanted shape or size is a potential product for Ugly Fruit, regardless of being grown in an organic, integrated or conventional production. However, and given the environmentally responsible nature of Ugly Fruit, they only work with local farmers.
Customers can choose to buy either a large or a small box. The first boxes, which range from 3kg to 4kg and include 7 varieties, have a price of €3.60, the large box costs €7.20 and contains between 6kg to 8kg. The boxes are composed of fruits and vegetables that might change weekly according to the time of year and the offer of farmers in the region.
The project, stressed the representation of the European Commission in Portugal, in a press release, has reduced food waste by more than 2300 tonnes, a value comparable to the annual amount of food wasted by 13,000 people.
Ugly Fruit is available, for now, in Lisbon, Almada, Cascais, Amadora, Porto, Matosinhos and Vila Nova de Gaia, but they may expand to all areas the country in the future.