It's no surprise that we love our fruits and vegetables at Red Rabbit... we include them in every single meal we serve. We love sliced oranges because they are refreshing and burst in your mouth and we love broccoli because it is nutrient dense and combines perfectly with many of our Asian inspired dishes. However, not all produce is made equal - sometimes fruits and vegetables are odd sized, have small bruises, or have slight discoloration. That's no reason not to eat them though, right?
Some Facts & Stats about Produce Waste
- 30% of produce is discarded every single year by farmers simply because it’s considered not “pretty enough” for sale before it even hits retailers or consumers
- Food loss and waste make up 40% of the U.S food supply and consumers are responsible for almost 90 billion pounds annually
- Retailers dump $15.4 billion of edible fruits and vegetables each year according to US Department of Agriculture data
- 1/3 of all food produced globally for human consumption is lost or wasted according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization
That's a lot of waste and we try hard to reduce our impact of that waste on the environment. Given that we are big fruit and vegetable buyers - cutting up 200 cases of pineapple a day and 8 tons of honey dew a week - we have a lot of fruit to sort through every single day. We have a full team receiving our produce to ensure it is top quality to serve our kids. We are cognizant of our footprint on the ongoing food waste issue while also making sure we serve delicious fruits and vegetables.
Tips for Using & Serving "Ugly" Fruits & Vegetables
We do our best to deliver fresh, delicious, and beautiful fruit and veggie loaded meals to you every single day, but sometimes the produce has some flaws. In those cases, these tips can help:
- There's more to a fruit than on the surface - try to encourage kids to look past the skin to enjoy the taste of the fruit inside because more often than not it is deliciously sweet.
- Try slicing the fruits into bite-sized pieces for your kids to encourage them to take a bite! Some common fruits this can help with include apples, pears, and bananas.
- Sometimes kids haven't been exposed to different kinds of fruits and vegetables or they are not accustomed to a variety of preparations. This Tips for Choosy Eaters sheet could help get them acclimated.
- At home, there are tons of ways to re-purpose imperfect produce. A couple recipes you could try include a Vegetable Stir Fry or simple Pesto where you could use some of the spinach or basil that is going bad quickly in the fridge. Yogurt & Fruit Parfait is another good one because you can chop all different kinds of fruit into really small pieces and layer it with delicious yogurt and granola.
Some Other Advocates
Based on the above stats, we know we are not alone in trying to reduce food loss and encourage consumption of produce with flaws. There are hundreds of thousands of other individuals doing what they can to help the cause, everyone from farmers, to produce delivery companies, to our local government. To learn more and get involved please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Imperfect Produce has a mission to recover ugly produce and redistribute it to consumers. They have six core values: recover ugly produce, reduce hunger, raise awareness, support farmers, create good jobs, and celebrate imperfections. They are currently delivering all over the country, including New York, so you have the opportunity to order your own bundle today.
- @UglyFruitandVeg An Instagram account existing of you guessed it, ugly fruits and vegetables. The account highlights humorous pictures of produce. You can expect to see intertwined carrots and radishes that look like they're hugging or tomatoes and apples with small bruises that look like smiley faces.