Fruta Feia (Ugly Fruit in Portuguese) is a co-operative in Portugal, their purpose is to stop tons of Fruit and Vegetables going to waste and making sure they get to those that need them at a price they can afford. I know Jamie Oliver, Jimmy and Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall have already brought up this subject and Asda are planning on selling ugly boxes but a 30% discount is hardly an incentive.
Isobella Soares and the Fruta Feia team have approached Portuguese farmers with the idea of instead of throwing away ugly or mishapen products they should sell them cheaply to Fruta Feia so they can pass on that saving to those that need it most. At first the farmers thought they were mad or government food spies, after all for years they’ve been told ugly produce has no place in the market. Within a few months Fruta Feia had reduced the waste by four tons a week. With an upcoming awareness campaign and a few thousand people signed up for produce they hope to reduce it by ten tons.
Fruit is good for all
This idea isn’t just benefitting the needy, the farmers are making money from produce they normal see going to waste. Resources are being saved like water and fertilisers and jobs are being created. Portugal’s ecconomy has suffered of late and any new jobs are good news when there’s 12% unemployment amongst the over 25s and 33% for those under 25.
Portugal wastes one million tons of food a year and with the co-op’s help that figure is coming down. Britain on the other hand, and you might want to sit down for this, wastes 15 million tons per year. According to “Call me Dave’s” government statistics and “Waste Resource Action Programme” WRAP half of that is wasted by us at home, 200,000 tons by supermarkets. That still leaves 7,480,000 tons which I guess is from farming, restaurants and production. Shocking is putting it very mildly. Imagine how low our weekly food shopping bills would be if we could reduce that by just a quarter.
Perhaps Jamie, Jimmy and Hugh would like to start their own Ugly Fruit co-op? £20,000 should be enough to get it up and running according to Isobella Soares.
You can find out more here.