Did you know that your fruits and vegetables–including the ones you pass up because they didn’t meet your preconceived notions of perfect roundness–had to pass a beauty contest before even arriving at the store? And did you know that just because some fruits and vegetables didn’t meet the arbitrary standards of “looking good” that they were mercilessly tossed into the trash, contributing to the glaring problem of food waste all across the world? It’s sad, it’s true, but we’re getting closer and closer to making a change. That’s because the Ugly Food movement is being embraced like never before. A grocery store in Sweden is selling only ugly and expired food, and a supermarket in Canada has just expanded a line of produce that’s “uglier,” but also more cost-efficient and just as nutritious.
Loblaws introduced its “Naturally Imperfect” line in 2015, and it’s been a rousing success. First only offering ugly apples and potatoes–real quick: What is an ugly potato? Aren’t all potatoes inherently horrifying?–in two provinces, the company is not only bringing the line to more stores, but expanding its offerings. Soon, Canadian shoppers will be able to add ugly mushrooms (again, aren’t all mushrooms ugly already?), peppers, and onions to the list of foods they can purchase at a lower cost, keeping themselves fed and making the dreams of misshapen produce items come true. (Did you not know that ugly vegetables had a dream? It’s to be shoved down deep into your stomach where they’ll be embraced by all sorts of friendly acids who couldn’t give less of a damn about westernized beauty ideals.)
The main reason that ugly food is proving to be so popular in Canada is because the drought in California has really affected produce prices, giving consumers who just want to eat healthy the same kind of sticker shock they might experience at a high-end electronics store. And what it’s taught supermarket executives is that no one really cares what apples look like. They still taste the same. Even better, probably, when they’re marked down by 30 percent.
Lines like “Naurally Imperfect” haven’t quite reached mainstream supermarkets in the United States yet, but more and more companies are looking into saving food that would have otherwise been tossed. You don’t even have to leave the house if you want to save: Hungry Harvest, a subscription produce delivery company that delivers cosmetically imperfect food to your door, just made a huge splash on Shark Tank and will likely be making an appearance in your neighborhood soon.