Ugly or “Perfect” Food?

Beautiful, perfect fruits and vegetables are overrated. The “perfect” produce phenomenon is quickly becoming a global problem. Did you ever stop to think that if you don’t pick the slightly twisted carrot or oval apple that they might simply be thrown away? Nearly the same amount of food eaten in the United States is thrown away due mainly to astronomically high cosmetic standards. This results in over $160 billion of financial losses from retailers and consumers alone, not to mention the amount that is thrown away on the farm.

Not only does this waste of food have a direct impact on wallets of consumers – estimated to cost around $1,600 per year for a family of four – it also affects the environment.. Globally, this food waste makes up 8% of global climate pollution every year, as there are many moving parts involved, not simply the decomposition of food, but also wasted water, land, gas, pesticides, and fertilizers. When food has even just a little blemish, it may be sold for as little as 6 cents per pound, or else thrown in one of the world’s many food dumps.

It’s incredible to think that almost 1/3 of food produced is wasted. This means that tons of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers applied to fields is unnecessary. These synthetic chemicals enter our water, soil, and air systems, causing unprecedented health risks, environmental damage, and diseases that could have been mitigated or reduced through safe, sustainable agricultural practices. When people know they are eating organic, they bypass the cosmetic appeal of the food, taking the chance that a twisted carrot will still taste delicious. And guess what – it does! That twisted, ugly food, when produced safely and sustainably, such as with neem-based products, is better for you than that perfectly red and shiny conventional apple. Have you thrown away food today?