Bothered how ugly an ugli fruit is?

GROCERS: Andrew Simkins and  Brenda Mercer and (below) the creepy-looking celeriac.
GROCERS: Andrew Simkins and Brenda Mercer and (below) the creepy-looking celeriac.
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Would you eat a carrot with two legs, a multi-coloured pepper or a lumpy orange?

Ugly fruit and vegetables rarely make it to the shelves as supermarkets and greengrocers select only the best looking examples.

The creepy-looking celeriac.

The creepy-looking celeriac.

But a recent report, which revealed 1.6 million tonnes of imperfect produce is wasted every year across the globe, claims 80 per cent of people would happily buy ugly fruit and veg.

“We have to feed the eyes before we feed the mouth,” said Lytham greengrocer Andrew Simkins, owner of Strongs. “The taste can be identical but people are put off when something is covered in lumps or discoloured.

“There’s no point in stocking produce that people are not going to buy.”

Some fruit and veg are pretty unappealing to look at anyway but are growing in popularity.

Ugli fruit

Ugli fruit

The creepy looking celeriac, often known as ‘the ugly one’, is the current mash of choice for TV chefs, and there is even an ugli fruit, a cross between an orange and a grapefruit, which Mr Simkins has started to stock.

The report, from the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, aims to raise awareness of the amount of produce dumped every year between harvest and shelf and is urging the food industry to rethink its policy.

So do aesthetics really matter to shoppers?

Susan Williams, from Staining, said: “I don’t think it affects the way it tastes.

“People might think if it’s misshapen then it’s substandard but that’s not the cas.”

Kath Carter from Warton said: “It wouldn’t bother me.

“I think the supermarkets are too hung up on everything being aesthetically pleasing.

“When we go to Spain the fruit and veg comes in all shapes and sizes, they don’t insist on everything being perfect like our shops do.”

Wes Cuthbertson, from Thornton, would welcome misshapen produce if it meant cheaper prices.

He said: “It wouldn’t put me off, it still tastes the same. If they’re wasting a lot why not sell it but a bit cheaper.”

But Chris Lambeth from South Shore, said: “I don’t like weird fruit – if I’m going to buy it, it has to be perfect.”

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