Sobeys, Please Commit to Love the Ugly Full Time
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The power of our collective action has convinced grocers all over the U.S. to start selling ugly produce. Now let’s work together to encourage Sobeys to combat food waste and increase fresh produce access by sourcing, selling and marketing ugly produce all year-round.
Over two years ago, Safeway Canada (a Sobeys subsidiary) trialed the Misfits ugly produce line and it sold very well. Then in the Fall of 2015 and 2016, IGA (a Sobeys subsidiary) piloted the Droles ugly produce line as well. Unfortunately these pilot programs, or any other ugly produce program, haven’t returned to Sobeys stores since. Meanwhile, the Misfits have gone on to do well in the U.S. with several supermarket chains now selling them in permanent year-round programs (for a big discount) at hundreds of stores across the country.
In Canada, about 20% of all produce is thrown away before it even reaches the grocery store due mostly to cosmetic standards from large grocers that dictate exactly how fruits and veggies should look. Unfortunately, if produce fails to make the grade for size, shape, or color, most retailers (including Sobeys and its subsidiaries) deem it "ugly" and refuse to sell it in their stores. Billions of pounds of good, healthy produce goes uneaten because it’s not pretty!
But this food is perfectly edible. My friends Jen Rustemeyer and Grant Baldwin, Canadian Filmmakers of the critically acclaimed food waste documentary Just Eat It, point out “Ugly fruit and veg are just as nutritious and delicious as regular shaped produce. Farmers work hard to grow our food, and wasting it just doesn’t make sense!”
Studies confirm that the “uglies” are equally as nutritious as any produce you get in the store, and, in fact, smaller produce can actually have more taste and nutrition! Wouldn’t you buy “ugly” but perfectly delicious and nutritious produce for 30-50% off if you had the chance? High produce prices have been very significant in Canada in recent years and paying for food was recently found to be a concern for 1/4 of the country.
The largest Canadian supermarket chain, Loblaws, has had success with its Naturally Imperfect ugly produce line expanding across Canada over the last two years. As the second biggest chain in Canada, we want Sobeys to be part of the solution too. So join us and the #LoveTheUgly Movement as we ask Sobeys, the second largest supermarket chain in Canada, to be part of the solution, not the problem. Tell them to add an ugly produce program back to their store aisles so you can save money, eat healthy and help the environment all in one.
Culinary Nutritionist Stefanie Sacks and I were successful in petitioning Whole Foods Market and Walmart to sell ugly produce in the U.S. Now we are asking you to call on Sobeys to help stop massive food waste on farms, and give Canadian customers a break, by selling cosmetically “less than perfect” produce.
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