Misaligned Values

I've got bad news first...

What can one say about the quantity of wasted produce in this country?  It is beyond what one or two words like abomination or hideous or horrendous can convey.  Dana Gunders succinctly states on grist.org (click on Source at top to read full article) that up to 30% of fresh produce grown each year never makes it off the farm.  That percent- age equals about $15 billion worth of edible food made unavailable to humans for reasons irrelevant to the production and consumption of those foods.  Gunders writes, "This is a waste of nutrition in addition to all of the money and resources that went into growing that food.  One key driver that causes fruits and veggies to be left on the field or fed to cattle is that they are not cosmetically perfect enough to meet the high standards that grocery stores mandate.  Many retailers insist that fruits and veggies meet exact cosmetic criteria, including specifications for size, color, weight, and blemish level - leading to culling and incorporating waste as part of doing business."

Now the good news!

The article was written to highlight how one grocery store in California is conducting an experiment in partnership with the food distributor FoodStar to see if "Maybe we consumers would even consider it a score to get a bag of Pink Lady apples for just 69 cents per pound."  I'm not sure how or when the grocery standards were devised, but I'm feeling quite a bit left out of a choice that should be my/our own at the supermarket: the specifications of the produce I/we buy.  I will gladly pay a reduced price for perfectly edible produce that doesn't look quite as pretty.  That way I get more food for my dollar, the store reduces its costs associated with distribution and the farms make greater gains on their produce.

Posted on January 24, 2013 .