The problem with ugly food goes beyond Instagram
In the United Kingdom, 1.4 million “ugly” bananas are wasted every day
Feb 26, 2018
Restaurants and supermarkets are fixated on the most attractive produce to create the most attractive dishes. It’s an effort to gain more exposure on social media, thanks to a generation whose natural instinct is to photograph alluring fare first.
We edit photos of food and put filters on them to make followers drool. Little do we know that this picky habit is contributing to food waste, according to American celebrity chef Alton Brown.
“Instagram has done to food what porn has done to sex,” says Brown at an event by The Atlantic about the sustainable global food system.
“We must eat the ugly food,” adds Brown. “We do not have a food shortage, we just have food we refuse to eat.”
The process of picking the prettiest among the most flawless vegetables and the intense editing that follows is giving more people unattainable food beauty standards. And it’s augmenting food inequality.
In the United Kingdom alone, 1.4 million bananas are wasted every day. In the U.S., these fruits are the discarded items in the grocery stores.
According to a study from Karlstad University, a key reason is the people’s perceived window of ripeness. Most only want to eat produce that looks good. We won’t pick a bunch of bananas that have blemishes on the peel despite their edibility.
There are however food activists tackling this problem like Imperfect Produce, Hungry Harvest, and Jordan Figueiredo, who launched the Ugly Fruit and Veg Campaign.
“Ugly produce isn’t even really ugly, most of it is beautiful, just a little bit bigger or smaller than the ‘norm’ and sometimes misshapen, but very rarely hideous or ugly,” writes Figueiredo on his website. “What is ugly is the way that this different produce is being treated all around the world—wasted while so many are food insecure, cannot afford and/or do not eat enough healthy produce.”
Featured image courtesy of Imperfect Produce on Instagram