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Say No to Waste and Yes to Taste

It’s time to stop the supermarkets throwing perfectly edible food in the bin.

On Sunday 9 October 2011, Manchester Friends of the Earth food campaigners asked visitors to the Manchester Food and Drink Festival to take the ‘Taste Before Beauty’ challenge, by trying a variety of apples and deciding which ones are the tastiest. We brought the public’s attention to the avoidable food waste that is created when supermarkets reject large amounts of food because it is not cosmetically perfect.

Manchester FoE’s team bringing local apples to the Food and Drink Festival in Albert Square

Fruit and vegetables grown in the UK are governed by European Union regulations, but supermarkets often require producers to meet even higher cosmetic perfection standards, which leads to even more perfectly edible food being ‘graded out’. Our ‘Taste Before Beauty’ campaign highlights the huge amount of edible food that is being wasted and asks people to tell their supermarket that, given the choice, they would be happy to buy this food as long as it tastes good. We are asking people to:

• Get in touch with your supermarket to say you don’t want them to reject perfectly good food. While we know it is more sustainable to support local retailers and producers, the reality is that the majority of food purchased in the UK is sold by a few large companies, so it’s important to send a clear message to them.

• Shop at local independent grocers where less stringent cosmetic grading processes will have been used.

• Sign up to a box scheme which supports local growers. The amount of food wasted by small-scale producers working with box schemes is far lower than the more highly packaged food offered in supermarkets.

• Buy fresh fruit and vegetables from a local farmers’ market – direct sales to customers do not require producers to ‘grade out’ food produce.

Packed with flavour, but these apple varieties from the Old Trafford allotment would all have been rejected by the big supermarkets

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