UK: Waitrose to offer ugly and fallen tomatoes

Upmarket UK retailer, Waitrose, is now selling bags of tomatoes that have either fallen naturally or are misshapen as a drive to cut food waste.

Shoppers are already getting used to knobbly carrots, wonky spuds, bent courgettes and discoloured cauliflowers, as the obsession with perfect produce has been wisely elbowed aside.

Now, in what is being hailed as a supermarket first, Waitrose is offering shoppers a bulk mixed selection pack of tomatoes, made up of fruit that would not previously have been put on sale. Tomatoes – along with avocados – are among the fresh foods which create the most waste in the food industry.

The 1kg pack of mixed tomatoes is made up of a selection of round, cherry and baby plum tomatoes which have either naturally droppped off the vine or are misshapen.

This latest addition to the tomato range follows from similar successful launches by the supermarket, including ‘misshapen’ strawberries and plums along with weather-blemished apples, all introduced in a bid to ensure that as much fruit as possible is available to customers to buy whole.

Each tomato pack will vary depending on what is seasonally available, Waitrose said.

Food charities and campaigners have in the past criticised obsession with perfect products – and retailers’ own selection criteria – as contributing towards the huge moutntain of unavoidable food waste.

In November, the publicly-funded recycling group the Waste and Resources Action Programme (Wrap) said that British families threw away about £60 a month worth of food per household.

Peter Cooke, Waitrose’s tomato buyer, said: “When it comes to tomatoes there’s absolutely no reason why beauty has to be skin deep. Every one of our mixed selection packs is different which, for me, is the real beauty of using tomatoes that wouldn’t normally be offered in this way to customers.”

This launch coincides with the introduction of two other traditional varieties into the tomato range, with a first-to-market British-grown Coeur de Boeuf and yellow beef tomato both going into selected branches this week, bringing the total number of tomato varieties now available at Waitrose to 30.

Waitrose’s Limited Selection tomatoes will be available in 77 branches nationwide, priced at £2.99 for a 1kg pack.

Source: FreshPlaza