Business

Asda trials wonky veg boxes

Asda trials wonky veg boxesSelected Asda stores will now be trialling Wonky Vegetable boxes as part of the ongoing ‘Beautiful on the Inside’ range in a continued effort to tackle food waste across the food chain.

Boxes containing potatoes, carrots and cucumbers, all of which are in season, as well as peppers, cabbages, onions, leeks and parsnips, will be available in 128 stores across the UK. As part of a trial to see how well the boxes sell there will be 20 boxes on sale, per store, at a price of £3.50 – cheaper than regular shaped fruit and veg.

The existing wonky veg range – which expanded last November – also includes pears, apples, citrus fruits, sweet potatoes and garlic. Asda further relaxed their specifications to encompass 340 more tonnes of carrots and 300 more tonnes of sweet potatoes that would have previously been rejected.

Ian Harrison, Asda’s Technical Produce Director said: “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 out 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.”

Wonky fruit proving popular with shoppers

TV chef Jamie Oliver and Suffolk-based farmer Jimmy Doherty, of the TV series Jamie & Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast, first approached Asda last January with the idea of running a small in-store trial to understand customer perceptions of wonky produce and whether they would be willing to buy it.

The Beautiful on the Inside range was first piloted in five stores – Grantham, Coventry, Dagenham, Bedminster (Bristol) and Wallington (Croydon) – in January this year, and was extended to a further 20 stores over the course of the year due to its popularity.

The success of the range, Asda says, has also allowed it to relax specifications on incoming produce, meaning less waste is being created earlier in the supply chain.

Harrison adds: “The initial reception to Wonky Fruit and Veg has been fantastic and we’ve been eager to take this one step further for a while, so the challenge to make wonky veg more widely available for customers was something we happily accepted from Jamie and Jimmy.”

Visit Asda’s website for more information and to see a list of participating stores.