Supermarket giant Woolworths will begin selling ‘ugly’ fruit and vegetables at discounted prices in an attempt to reduce waste and make healthy food cheaper.
Fresh produce that would otherwise have been thrown out because of imperfections or cosmetic damage will be sold for almost a dollar cheaper per kilo as part of the supermarket’s “Odd Bunch” campaign.
A kilo of Odd Bunch pears retail for $2.78 compared to $3.98 for a kilo of regular Packham pears.
The initiative, a first for Australian supermarkets, will help farmers sell more of their crop.
According to the United Nations, roughly one-third of food produced for human consumption in lost or wasted each year, amounting to 1.3 billion tonnes.
Several supermarkets in Europe have already adopted the initiative, with French supermarket Intermarche and UK chain Sainsbury’s both selling what they call “ugly” produce.
Zerella Fresh, who supplies carrots, onions and pumpkins to Woolworths, told News Corp they would save more than 50 tonnes of carrots each week because of the campaign.
“Woolies are supporting the growers by taking the whole crop … instead of cherrypicking what we are growing, they are working with us,” Zerella national sales manager, Peter Brinkworth said.
The “Odd Bunch” campaign comes as Bank of America Merrill Lynch cut its price target for Woolworths’ down to $25 from $27, downgrading the company’s earnings forecast by 5 per cent to $2.39 billion in 2017.
This would mark Woolworths first fall in profit in around 16 years, with the new Merrill Lynch forecasts coming in far below current forecasts of $2.87 billion for 2017.