Tesco is selling 'wonky veg' for up to half price in bid to curb food waste

Imperfect parsnips and potatoes will appear on shelves in 200 Tesco stores

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The Independent Online

Tesco has started selling so-called wonky veg for a big discount in a bid to curb food waste in stores.

Imperfect parsnips and potatoes will appear on shelves in 200 Tesco stores from Friday as part of the grocer's Perfectly Imperfect initiative. Carrots, apples and 15 additional types of wonky produce will follow.

The parsnips will be half the price of standard parsnips, or 30p for 500g (0.06p per gram) compared to Tesco standard parsnips that cost 90p for 750g (0.12p per gram).

The potatoes will be priced at 90p for 2.5kg compared to Tesco standard potatoes, that cost £1.75 for 2.5kg, or 40 per cent off.

Tesco is introducing wonky veg as part of a wider effort to cut food waste, including a pledge to send all unwanted food to charity by the end of next year. It is extending is partnership with the food redistribution charity Fareshare from 14 to 100 stores from Friday, with a plan to run the partnership with its 800 largest outlets by the end of the year.

Stores partnered with Fareshare send unwanted food to local charities several times a week. The plan is to send the food on to 5,000 charities and community groups to feed those in need.

Tesco is the only supermarket to publish figures for the amount of food that goes to waste. The number stands at 50,000 tonnes a year within stores, of which 30,000 is thought to be edible. 

Asda became the first supermarket to offer boxes of wonky vegetables in 128 of its stores from February 6.

The boxes cost £3.50 and contained enough food to feed a family of four for a week. 

Approved Food, the online grocer best known for selling products near or past their best-before date, said that selling wonky vegetables and giving surplus food to charity does nothing to address the issue of food that never even reaches the shelves.

“A seemingly simple decision to change the design of an own branded tin of tomatoes, or a last minute cancellation of an order due to poor sales forecasting, can land manufacturers with tonnes of perfectly good stock with no route to market," Dan Cluderay, food waste prevention campaigner, said. 

"Convoluted contracts and concerns about ‘rocking the boat’ mean that the vast majority heads straight to landfill," he said.