Food & Drink

Reject radishes and tarnished turnips rejoice! ‘Wonky’ vegetables welcomed by Asda

Curvy carrots and oddly-shaped onions are no longer being shunned as Asda introduces ‘Wonky Veg’ boxes.

The whacky range of vegetable boxes are being trialled by the supermarket across 128 stores, including Clapham Junction and Twickenham.

The boxes cost £3.50 each and include nine in-season misshaped vegetables, enough to feed a family of four.

So far 2,500 ‘Wonky Veg’ boxes have been sold, Ian Harrison, Asda’s technical produce director, said: “Our shoppers absolutely love Wonky fruit and veg and we’ve seen sales steadily increase over the last year.

“So, we’re excited to launch a unique and exclusive Wonky Vegetable box that is jam-packed with ugly winter veg that not only saves shoppers money but helps farmers get more of their crop onto our shelves.

“However, this range only solves one part of the food waste puzzle. The work we continue to do with our growers to ensure as much of their crop is sold as possible, by flexing specifications, is the golden ticket for farmers.”

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First introduced by Asda, the imperfect fruit and vegetable initiative was championed by celebrity chefs Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Doherty.

Reducing food waste is a high priority for supermarkets and by relaxing specifications Asda is striving towards this.

The ‘wonkiness’ element of the vegetables changes by the product, currently 15% of potatoes do not meet specifications because they are too big, too small or blemished and 15% of parsnips are rejected because of their shape or superficial defects.

Furthermore, 10% of oddly-shaped onions don’t make the cut and 8% of carrots grown with knobbles and bobbles are left with growers.

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By reviewing the standards around superficially damaged vegetables more than 340 tonnes of carrots and 300 tonnes of sweet potatoes that would have previously been rejected have been put on the shelves at Asda.

The wonky boxes currently contain weirdly-shaped winter vegetables including carrots, potatoes, peppers, cucumbers, parsnips and leeks.

An Asda spokesman said: “We’ve sold 2,500 so far and plan to bring them back to even more stores in the next few weeks, with a wider geographical spread.

“The box will always be seasonal depending on what’s going to waste so fruit and summer produce is definitely something we’re looking at.”

Customer research shows that 65% of Asda customers are open to the idea of wonky veg and 75% are drawn in by the significantly low price, which led to the range becoming a permanent fixture in selected stores.

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Images courtesy of Asda press office, with thanks

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