Tesco Blames Customers For Fruit And Veg Waste
Tesco has accused its customers of contributing to food waste by shunning perfectly edible fruit and vegetables because they are "ugly or misshapen".
A director at the supermarket said it wanted to "educate" shoppers to realise that wonky carrots or marked apples can be "perfectly good food".
Matt Simister, the group food sourcing director at Tesco, said British consumers "always pick the cream of the crop".
"We do have a role to educate people ? Our role is to [help people] make the right choices."
The supermarket is considering putting more imperfect fruit and veg on offer, he told the House of Lords EU sub-committee on agriculture.
"Customers naturally select, they always pick the cream of crop first and the rest of it then gets left.
"Then the new deliveries come in and you have the new cream of the crop - the old, ugly misshapen goes to waste. Customers will always make the choice of the one that cosmetically looks better. That's a very difficult reality to us."
He added: "We can put more misshapen products through our value range at better prices, we've been doing that for years. There are opportunities to do more."
EU rules on misshapen fruit and veg were relaxed in 2009, but British supermarkets still have private standards that are higher.
Mr Simister said that was because of what "customers tell us they want in perishable produce".
As a result supermarkets often reject misshapen products that are then sent to Eastern Europe. There, people facing a financial squeeze will accept less "cosmetically" pleasing options for a lower price, he said.
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