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Almost nine in ten grocery retail managers believe that consumers will be willing to buy “wonky” fruit and vegetables in order to save them from landfill, according to new research.
Predictive applications specialist Blue Yonder surveyed supermarket managers in the UK, the US, Germany and France – and found that the more senior the manager, the more enthusiastic they were about whether customers would buy misshapen produce at a discounted price. In the UK, 43% of junior managers, 55% of middle managers, 57% of senior managers and 77% of grocery company directors replied “yes, definitely”.
There was a similar response from the US grocery market, where Blue Yonder spoke to 300 managers, 91% of whom said shoppers would either “definitely” or “possibly” buy discounted wonky vegetables.
And in Germany there was even greater enthusiasm. Blue Yonder questioned 150 managers there and 94% said it would work. Not a single supermarket director in Germany believed customers would turn down wonky vegetables.
Drinks from wonky veg
Click here to read FoodBev’s feature involving Dash Water, the new company making healthy drinks out of misshapen fruit and vegetables, or subscribe to FoodBev magazine for an interview with the co-founders of the novel brand.
Blue Yonder retail industry director Matt Hopkins said: “In a struggle to remain competitive, grocers find themselves throwing away an increasing quantity of goods on a daily basis. This issue has intensified as customers have become accustomed to having not only a wide variety of choice, but also the freshest selection available. This research reveals 90% of grocery managers feel customers would be happy with discounts on imperfect fruit and vegetables. This has the benefit of overcoming the waste problem in the supply chain, and is clearly of benefit to all.”
Blue Yonder said that, by utilising more produce that it would have previously thrown away, one supermarket was able to save 34,000 tonnes of potatoes since 2014.
And in another example, a UK supermarket ceased demanding of its suppliers of green beans that they be “top and tailed” for appearance sake. The supermarket has estimated that the change will save more than 135 tonnes of food waste per year. Blue Yonder said that the move illustrates how, by using markdown pricing, replenishment of goods and price optimisation, retailers can reduce system-wide waste.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019