According to a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council, about 7 percent of planted fields in the U.S. are left unharvested each year—an estimate that can be even greater for certain crops.
That’s because most grocery stores have strict size, consistency and color guidelines when purchasing produce. The cost for farmers to harvest those “ugly” crops that won’t make it into stores often outweighs their potential profit.
Add a grocery store’s additional unsold produce and items that have been bruised or damaged, and you’re looking at a lot of discarded food. Because of the produce protocols many supermarkets follow, it’s not always easy to find ugly fruits and veggies.
But some companies are making the hunt for crooked carrots and awkward apples a little easier. They’ll deliver recovered produce right to your door—and for added incentive, it’s usually more affordable than what you’d buy at the store.
- If you can’t find ugly fruit at your local grocery store, check out companies like Hungry Harvest and Imperfect Produce that bring the goods to you.
- You can also shop businesses that source recovered food, such as Fruitcycle, a company that makes snacks from food that would otherwise go to waste.
- Check out Smithsonian Magazine’s infographic to see how tossed food translates to water waste!
- National Geographic highlighted the global impact of food waste in this eye-opening article.
- Here are five more food-waste myths that might surprise you.