Quirky, Yet Quality: Asda Campaign Explains Unsightly Produce

By Ian Harrison
February 2, 2015
6 unsightly vegetables line a wooden table

Editor’s note: Asda first launched this campaign in January 2015, and this month, added the option for customers to purchase a box of in-season “wonky” vegetables at a discounted price. Read more in this story from The Guardian.

When you’re shopping for fruits and vegetables, do you pass over a carrot that’s not straight? Or a pear that’s not smooth? This type of produce still tastes great and is beautiful on the inside; it just isn’t 100% perfect on the outside. 

This is the idea behind our new campaign at Asda, Walmart’s United Kingdom retailer. By selling “wonky” fruits and vegetables at a discounted price, we can help reduce food waste, while supporting farmers and offering customers even better value for their money. (For those who aren’t used to British speak, wonky means a little bit misshapen.)  

Crooked carrots, knobby pears and wonky potatoes, among other items, have their own special place in our produce sections for the first time.  We’re labeling them as “Beautiful on the Inside” and bagging them separately, which we hope will raise customer awareness that these fruits and vegetables are just as good. The campaign started last week in five select Asda stores, and it was also featured earlier in January on TV chef Jamie Oliver’s UK program, “Jamie & Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast.”

As produce technical director at Asda, I’ve been working closely with our famers to make sure we have excellent knowledge of our supply chain so we can reduce food waste. Food throwaways are a global issue for Walmart; doing what we can to prevent them is a huge way we can get even closer to our goal of zero waste.  Most blemishes on produce don’t affect the quality or flavor – a carrot is still a carrot. Essentially, customers are looking for great-tasting, fresh produce at an affordable price, and so these items shouldn’t be passed over. 

If this campaign is successful, we hope to extend it to more of our stores. But you don’t have to wait for a campaign before you can get involved.  Next time you’re buying fresh fruits and vegetables, don’t ignore that carrot shaped like an ‘S’ or the apple that isn’t perfectly big or round.  Check out these tips on how to tell when a wonky fruit or vegetable is still beautiful on the inside and when you should stay away. 

Happy eating!