The subject of food waste has been a hot topic for a while now, with environmentalists calling for changes. Every year, thousands of tonnes of fruit and veg are wasted, and some don't even make it to the supermarket shelves because they are slightly misshapen or slightly discoloured, despite being perfectly fine to eat. The amount of food discarded due to their wonky shapes has sparked a call for concern. But many brands have stepped up to try and combat this food waste including Lidl with their new 'Too Good To Waste' box, which is full of imperfect veg.
According to Farming UK, the box was trialled in selected UK stores back in August. This eventually stretched to 122 stores and, after finding success and selling 50,000 boxes, they are now launching nationwide. True to Lidl's low-price points, the box will cost just £1.50 and will contain 5kg of discoloured or wonky veg. If that isn't value for money, I don't know what is. The boxes are jam packed with super fresh fruit and veg like lettuce, garlic, courgettes, carrots, and so much more.
Lidl aren't the only company with this idea, though. As the Guardian reports, three years ago Asda released a 'wonky vegetable' box filled with misshapen, discoloured, or just ugly fruit and veg. This was the first supermarket box and, at £3.50, it was was 30 percent cheaper than standard lines.
There are also home delivery services such as Oddbox and Wonky Veg, who work with local growers to try and cut food waste by choosing the fruit and veg that wouldn't make it to the supermarket shelf. But these can be a little more on the pricey side, with a small Oddbox with a box of 6-7 veggies and 3 fruits priced at £10.49.
Lidl are trying to steer away from the 'wonky veg' idea, however. In an interview with iNews, they said they don't believe produce should be priced differently due to its size. These boxes don't contain just wonky veg, but veg and fruit that is discoloured, slightly damaged or have deteriorated slightly but are still too good to waste.
The amount of annual food waste due to imperfect food is mind blowing. In 2018, the Independent reported that 37,000 tonnes of fruit and vegetables are wasted in the UK every year — enough to provide 250,000 people with their 5 a day for a year. Crazy, right? According to iNews, an estimated 50 million tonnes of fresh produce is wasted in Europe evert year, and the UK makes up about a tenth of that.
As the Guardian reports, in 2013, the Global Food Security Programme found that up to two fifths of UK crops are wasted because they are ugly, and the average family throws away 5kg of food per week. All in all, this amounts to £700 wasted per family per year.
Lidl's new box could well bring out the culinary geniuses in all of us, as there's a seemingly infinite number of recipes you can create from the ingredients it gives you. You could try a ratatouille, a fancy salad, a carrot cake, or even attempt and vegan or vegetarian roast dinner. Then you'll really be cooking with gas. Veggie dinner parties here we come.