Czech customers are ready for wonky carrots and less than perfect potatoes says initiative for combatting food waste

Photo: Kristýna Maková

It has been estimated that an enormous amount of food - 88 million tonnes is wasted in the European Union annually. A new campaign by the Zachraň Jidlo initiative wants to make a small dent in food waste the Czech Republic, reporting that up to one-fifth of fruit and vegetables is thrown away without ever making it to the store, for strictly cosmetic reasons.

Adam Podhola, photo: Masha Volynsky
I spoke to the initiative’s Adam Podhola earlier:

“With our campaign, which translates as ‘I’m Ready’, we are focussing on food waste in agriculture, specifically on how almost 20 percent of fruit and vegetables are rejected by supermarkets or before they ever get to supermarkets due to strict cosmetic standards. There is nothing wrong with the food but it is rejected right at the start so it doesn’t get into stores. We would like to offer possible solutions as well as of course to raise awareness.”

We’re talking about fruit and vegetables which don’t fall within the norm, which for various reasons look different or a little ugly or not what one is accustomed to. Is that correct?

“Exactly. We are talking about smaller potatoes or bigger cauliflowers or wonky carrots: any produce which doesn’t look perfect but which tastes the same.”

I would have thought that at least a segment of the population would welcome the opportunity to buy some of this fruit or some of these vegetables, perhaps at a discount, considering there are people pinching pennies…

Photo: Kristýna Maková
“That was something we asked supermarkets last year and they replied that Czech customers were not ready. We don’t feel that is case. They don’t really have a choice and we would like to get supermarkets to get on board so they get a chance.

“Right now we are trying to collect as many signatures as possible to show supermarket chains that there are customers who would buy less than perfect produce. It doesn’t have to go to waste.”