Could you love an ugly carrot if it meant saving money on your food shop?

Ugly veg taste the same - but are a lot cheaper and eating them saves waste

Ugly veg taste the same - but are a lot cheaper and eating them saves waste

Would you buy a crooked carrot, or maybe a particularly knobbly potato? It’s not a trick question. Depending on your answer, you could save big on your vegetable bill.

Food waste is one of the biggest scandals of our throwaway society, both what we buy but don’t eat and what doesn’t even make it off the fields. I’ve seen that waste first hand on the farms around my home – I’ve even done a bit of my own impromptu harvesting of what’s been left to rot.

Now people with far more clout than me have noticed it too. Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver and Suffolk farmer Jimmy Doherty are encouraging shoppers to buy produce usually deemed not visually perfect enough for supermarket shelves, in a bid to reduce food waste.

The pair highlighted the issue on their Channel 4 show, Friday Night Feast, and approached Asda to suggest running a trial to see if customers would be willing to buy the wonky veg, sold for 30% less than ‘perfect’ produce. The trial, which started at the end of January in five stores (none local, however) may be rolled out nationally if it’s successful.

Jamie got to the nub of the issue when he said: “If most Brits had half an idea of the amount going to waste, they’d be snapping up ugly veg by the trolley load. There’s no difference in taste or nutritional value. This is perfectly good food that could and should be eaten by humans.”

Research seems to back this up – Asda reckons 75% of its customers would definitely purchase oddly-shaped veg if it was cheaper.

It’s a shame it’s not available locally and that more retailers aren’t getting in on the act. But all is not lost. I’ve managed to source my own wonky, cheap veg in a shop close to home. And you could do the same. I purchased it at the same time as my guinea pig food and wild bird seed and I bought in bulk. I had no other option. The range was limited, just carrots at the moment, but then, what do you expect from a pet shop.

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Still, I’m not complaining. At 27p a kilo (£2.70 for a 10kg net) these carrots are half the price of the cheapest, prettier veg, available at any of my local shops. But when they’re cooked and on the plate, no-one will know the difference.

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