The odd bunch – ugly tastes just as good
Countdown stores nationwide is celebrating ugly fruit and veges with the launch of The Odd Bunch, a new initiative designed to help cut food waste, take more produce from growers, and make healthy food more affordable for customers.
In the first initiative of its kind in New Zealand, The Odd Bunch makes the ‘ugly’ produce growers would normally discard due to small imperfections or cosmetic damage available to customers at a reduced price. Customers who don’t mind a few hail spots on their fruit, or misshapen but still nutritious vegetables, will find the cheaper produce in clearly identifiable and recyclable packaging within Countdown’s produce range.
The first produce to join The Odd Bunch will be hail-damaged stone fruit and carrots, with more fruit and vegetables appearing on shelves in the coming months. As with all things Mother Nature has to offer, The Odd Bunch availability is based on both the season and supply, and stock will vary from store to store. The Odd Bunch will also be available online when it is stocked in-store.
Countdown’s general manager merchandise, Chris Fisher, says The Odd Bunch is about reducing food waste, supporting growers by taking more of their crop, and helping to make healthy food more affordable for Kiwis.
“Shoppers have long favoured and demanded perfect-looking produce, but we hope to challenge that thinking with The Odd Bunch. It makes sense on so many levels, for shoppers, growers and the environment.
“There are any number of reasons why produce might look a little unusual, from growing at an odd angle to being affected by the weather. It still tastes great and is just as nutritious as regular produce. With The Odd Bunch Countdown can help our suppliers sell produce they may have typically discarded and we think many shoppers will forgive a little ugliness to help combat food waste and save,” he says. Jenny Marshall, spokesperson for Love Food Hate Waste, says that they are very supportive of The Odd Bunch as it all helps Kiwis’ food waste.
Kevin Wilcox, managing director of A S Wilcox and Sons says they are excited to be supplying onions, carrots and potatoes for The Odd Bunch launch.
“As a grower we take pride in supplying premium quality vegetables, however, it’s frustrating to witness a portion of our produce going to waste simply on account of shape or other cosmetic defect that has no bearing on the taste or nutritional value of the vegetable. Countdown is to be congratulated on launching this programme which will allow consumers to participate in reducing food waste.”