Cosmetically imperfect but otherwise perfectly edible produce offers big financial savings and helps reduce food waste

Eggplants don’t have feelings. Neither, as it turns out, do squash, tomatoes, peppers or any other number of popular fruits and vegetables. And that’s a good thing, as the term “ugly produce” has become increasingly popular among consumers shopping for the best price, food waste prevention advocates and market-savvy entrepreneurs alike.

The Ugly Produce is Beautiful! campaign launched in 2016 to highlight data suggesting as much as 40 percent of food in the United States goes uneaten — an economic impact of essentially throwing away $165 billion every year. Much of that food is perfectly wholesome and nutritious, but rendered undesirable due to blemishes, atypical shape and other cosmetic flaws. Businesses such as Imperfect Produce and Hungry Harvest have emerged (although not in the Wilmington market) to help connect buyers with quality products that would otherwise go to waste. Even Wal-Mart — the nation’s largest grocer — has gotten in on the action, introducing a line of blemished but otherwise edible apples under the I’m Perfect brand in some stores last year.

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