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What the Fork Are You Doing With Your Produce, Walmart?
Despite living in the richest country in the world, 48 million Americans still don’t know where their next meal will come from. That means a staggering 19 percent of households with children are food insecure. Part of the problem is the prohibitively high price of produce. Many low income American families simply can’t afford fresh fruits and vegetables. Yet, we throw away nearly 26% of all produce before it even reaches the grocery store due mostly to cosmetic standards from large grocers that dictate exactly how fruits and veggies should look. If produce fails to make the grade for size, shape, or color, retailers 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. Culinary nutritionist Stefanie Sacks, author of What the Fork Are You Eating? and co-starter of this petition, confirms 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! I’m Jordan Figueiredo, a solid waste specialist, and founder of UglyFruitandVeg.org. Together with Stefanie and with the support of more than 111,000 signers, we were successful in petitioning Whole Foods Market to sell ugly produce. Now we are asking you to call on Walmart to join the movement against food waste by agreeing to sell cosmetically “less than perfect” produce. We want Walmart to combat food waste by marketing ugly produce with an educational and fun campaign like the French supermarket giant Intermarche did with its “Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables Campaign.” Stores in Europe, Australia, and Canada have seen success selling not quite "perfect" produce, offering it at an average of 30% off, and it has increased store traffic and total sales. In the U.S. Raley's has completed a successful pilot selling ugly produce, Giant Eagle has just started a pilot and Whole Foods will start one soon. With over 4,200 U.S. stores, we are asking Walmart, one of America’s largest retailers, to do something simple, effective and good for the retailers’ and customers’ bottom line. Walmart can help out its customers who cannot afford as much as they used to and their employees who are offered such low wages that they depend on food stamps. This is truly low-hanging fruit in terms of its environmental and social benefits. One out of six Americans is food insecure, and more than four out of five is produce-deficient. With statistics like this, it is simply irresponsible to encourage waste of good, healthy and perfectly edible food. Join the “ugly fruit and veg revolution” and let’s ask Walmart to be part of the solution, not the problem. Tell them to add the “uglies” to their store aisles so you can save money, fight hunger and help the environment all in one. The solution might look ugly, but the result will be something beautiful. #WhatTheFork