More than 50 million tons of fruit and vegetables grown across Europe are discarded each year. This is the finding of a recent study by researchers at the University of Edinburgh. The environmental impact of this waste is equivalent to the carbon emissions of almost 400, 000 cars.
The researchers found that the main causes of this waste are strict government regulations, supermarkets’ high standards and consumers’ expectations of how fruit and vegetables should look. Farmers typically grow more food than they can supply as they know that a proportion will not be considered fit to sell. Scientists suggest that greater awareness among consumers, and a movement towards shopping sustainably, could encourage the sale of more ugly vegetables. They also suggest a greater use of misshapen or “wonky” produce, for example in chopped, processed or picked goods, or for sale at a discount to charities.