Each year in Australia, countless tonnes of good fruit and veg goes to waste simply because it doesn’t look right.
Everyone hates wasting food. What many of us don't know is that crazy good food is wasted right around the country before it even reaches us in our homes.
One of the biggest reasons for this waste is something called ‘appearance standards’. These are essentially rules about what shape, colour and size our fruit and veg needs to be before it can be sold in shops. Supermarkets and food retailers have these rules because they know that if produce doesn’t look a particular way, people won’t buy it.
In other words, our love of perfect produce - unblemished, perfectly shaped and regular produce - means that huge amounts of delicious, wholesome, nutritious food won't ever make it onto our plates.
How big is the problem?
This problem affects farmers across Australia:
In Australia, it’s estimated 20-40% of all fruit and vegetables are rejected from sale due to appearance quality standards.
We know that 30% of all bananas grown in Australia are rejected from sale because they don’t meet appearance guidelines. That means 1 in 3 bananas (100,000 tonnes) go to waste each year.
While Australia still lacks accurate national statistics on this issue, it's reported in the United Kingdom that 15 million tonnes of 'ugly fruit and veg' worth more than £19 billion is left to rot in the fields, discarded by supermarkets and restaurants and thrown into household bins ever year.
If UK statistics are anything to go by, we have a serious problem on our hands.
The Bigger Picture
Wonky fruit and veg is just one of many ways that food is wasted in Australia and around the world.
Each year, Australia throws away upwards of $8 billion of edible food - about 4 million tonnes in total. In NSW alone, we know that the average household throws away $1036 worth of edible food each year. That's about 1 shopping bag in every 5 we bring home.
Food gets wasted because we buy too much, cook too much or don’t store our food correctly to maximise its longevity. Clearly, we have a problem both in and outside our homes.
What can we do?
We're glad you asked.
Check out, download and share our Ugly Matters fact sheet to find out more about the issue. Then head to our Take Action page to find out what you can do to help.