Supermarket's 'wonky veg' box is huge hit with frugal customers

Feb 24, 2016 at 7:22 a.m. ET

Following the success of Asda's "Wonky Veg" box trial in selected English stores earlier this month the supermarket is rolling them out to 550 stores across the U.K.

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As part of the retail giant's efforts to cut down on food waste, 10,000 boxes will go on sale in the stores on a monthly basis from March.

Each box contains enough to feed a family of four for a working week — 5 kilograms of fresh fruit and veg, such as carrots, potatoes, peppers, leeks, onions, parsnips, cucumber and cabbage (exact contents will vary according to the season). At £3.50 per box, it's 30 percent cheaper than a non-wonky equivalent.

Ian Harrison, Asda's produce quality director, said: "We've been absolutely overwhelmed by the response to our wonky vegetable box and think it shows just how conscious our customers are of food waste, particularly in the produce aisle.

"We knew from our initial research that customers aren't phased by the odd knobble here or a bruise there and like the fact that our wonky range is a little bit cheaper, but including this 'ugly' veg in a mixed box format has helped customers save even more money and plan meals for the family for the whole week, ensuring nothing is thrown away, even when it’s taken out of the supermarket aisle.

"We're extremely excited to be able to bring the wonky veg box to even more people across the U.K. and, in turn, further support our growers to ensure we’re buying as much of their crop as possible."

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Customers have taken to social media to show their love for Wonky Veg boxes: 

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The scheme will result in at least 500 tonnes of "waste" fruit and veg being taken from farmers and sold in Asda by the end of 2016, reported the Daily Record.

Produce may be classed as "waste" simply because it doesn't meet exact specifications. It may be too large, too small, odd-shaped or have blemishes.

Asda has already announced that 340 more tonnes of carrots and 300 more tonnes of sweet potatoes have been sold in store as a result of this initiative but revised requirements around tomatoes, grapes, citrus fruit and white potatoes now mean that a further 3,000 tonnes of fresh produce will be sold on shelves this year alone.

Is wonky veg coming to an Asda near you? Check the store list for details.

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