When it comes to fruits and vegetables, there is a pretty standard definition of what constitutes pretty or 'normal' looking produce and what constitutes ugly and thus unappealing produce (think misshapen potatoes or eggplant, or twisted carrots). Stores don't sell and we don't buy 'ugly' fruits and vegetables. A Maryland-based food recovery organization is pushing to change that and to get more appreciation and celebration -- and less waste -- of ugly-looking produce, and it’s doing it through emojis.
Hungry Harvest, an organization best known for working between retailers and consumers to recover and sell rejected produce at discounted prices, has created ugly produce emojis to help change how people think about less-than-perfect fruits and vegetables. The idea is that if misshapen strawberries and imperfect melons can find their way onto our emoji keyboards, it could bring us one step closer to seeing that produce on grocery store shelves -- and buying it. That would be a huge leap forward: currently, because of its less-than-ideal appearance, up to a third of produce ends up getting thrown away en route to the grocery store, despite tasting fine and having the exact same nutritional profile as 'normal' fruits and vegetables.
“We’ve got ‘perfect’ fruits and veggies in our keyboards, why don’t we yet have ones that have more personality, better express our feelings, and help bring awareness to some of the biggest issues of our time?” said Ritesh Gupta, director of impact at Hungry Harvest. With the ugly produce emojis, Gupta hopes to open people’s eyes to the severity of food waste in a way that is easy to digest, and a little bit fun. Hungry Harvest has petitioned Google, Unicode, and Apple to make the ugly produce emojis universally available
To support Hungry Harvest and the push to end food waste by making ugly produce emojis a standard in Unicode, iOS, and Android, sign the petition here.
Here's how to cut broccoli whether it's perfect or not: