Easy wins: imperfect produce – the perfect solution to food waste

While 5 million Australians go hungry each year, an estimated 7.3m tonnes of food is wasted. In Australia, up to 25% of all vegetables produced never leave the farm, often because they are too oddly shaped for the grocery store.

All the while, these reject fruits and vegetables – also known as “imperfect produce” – remain perfectly good to eat.

Though the numbers sound overwhelming, a solution may emerge from the world of small-scale startup subscriptions.

Subscription shopping exists not just for the makeup-lovers and book-fanatics. Buying a subscription box of imperfect groceries may just be the most convenient way to simultaneously offload your weekly shop for fresh produce and reduce waste.

Good & Fugly, a produce subscription service based in greater Sydney, delivers boxes of fresh produce direct from the farm. Each box includes staple ingredients – such as potatoes, onions and leafy greens – as well as a variety of changing seasonal produce. A small box of fruit and veg, feeding two people for up to five days, sells for $39. A larger box, feeding five people for up to five days, sells for $59.

Farmer’s Pick, a Melbourne-based service, has found a home for more than 100 tonnes of fresh, oddly bent and sometimes blemished produce. Straight from local farms, the produce varies week-to-week, and subscription options cater to single and family households, with boxes starting at $35. The service also partners with Alex Makes Meals, donating up to seven meals to Victorians facing food insecurity for every box sold.

Harris Farm, the family-owned NSW market chain, offers their own imperfect produce service at a discount of up to 50% off on fresh produce through their Imperfect Picks range online. Or, if you want a curated box to save you the trouble of adding to your cart, buy their Imperfect Picks Value Box for $40.

Give the strangely-bent carrot or bumpy potato a try and you’ll support local farmers, reduce your contribution to a growing volume of wasted food each year, and you may just find you consume more fresh produce than ever.