Meijer is calling its 'wonky fruit' offering Meijer Misfits.
Meijer has become the latest US grocery retailer to jump on board the ‘wonky fruit’ trend, offering its customers a range of slightly-less-perfect produce at a discounted price.
Meijer Misfits includes products that are discoloured, scarred or oddly shaped, sold at a rate between 20% and 40% cheaper than the store’s standard fruit and vegetables. The items offfered as part of the programme will change from season to season, but some of the produce to be included are apples, bell peppers, lemons, limes and sweet potatoes.
The Misfits programme rolled out at all 235 Meijer locations earlier this month, and customers have already purchased nearly a quarter of a million pounds of so-called wonky fruit and vegetables. The retailer estimates 6 billion pounds of produce goes unused every year.
“Meijer offers more than 600 types of produce, so the Misfits programme has been an incredible extension to our overall selection,” said Peter Vail, Meijer’s vice-president of produce for deli and bakery. “There is an inner beauty of this perfectly imperfect produce. Our customers have responded well to the produce made available through the Misfits programme.”
Launching the programme group-wide complements Meijer’s sustainability goals and supports the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) target of reducing food waste by 50% before 2030.
It joins Whole Foods and Walmart, the US’ largest supermarket chain, in trying to cut down on the amount of produce wasted throughout the supply chain in this way.
Meijer is working with produce supplier Robinson Fresh on the new Misfits campaign. Craig Arnesen, general manager of Robinson Fresh in the north region, agreed that this was a problem that needed addressing.
“We understand there is produce left in the field because farmers don’t think there is a market for it,” Arneson said. “With the Misfits programme, farmers have an outlet to sell more produce and customers have an opportunity to save money and help reduce waste.”
And Don Armock, president of Meijer supplier Riveridge Produce, continued: “Growers work hard to try and grow apples with the perfect shape, colour and size, but since apples are grown outside, they may end up with an odd shape because it grew around a branch or has low colour due to growing in a shady spot on the tree.
“Teaming with Meijer on the Misfits programme, growers have an opportunity to sell imperfect but great tasting fruit while the consumer gets to save on fresh produce and maybe even gets a laugh out of its odd look.”
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019
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