'Odd bunch' sales could cause pain for fruit and veg growers
FRUIT and vegetable grower advocate Growcom says the move by Woolworths to sell "odd bunch" imperfect fruit and vegetables is important for reducing food wastage but could cause pain for some growers.
"We shouldn't be rejecting food on the basis of what it looks like," Growcom CEO Alex Livingstone said.
"There can be significant amounts of wastage which does not meet that visual standard.
"It doesn't mean the crop is bad, it means that nature has made that product (look) different."
He said Sunshine Coast and hinterland farmers, such as strawberry and avocado growers, were already selling into oversupplied markets and there was a risk the additional produce would push prices down.
"If this campaign works, on the one side it is a good thing because waste will be reduced, but there would certainly be some casualties along the way because you would have a lot more supply on the market," he said.
"Farmers make a very small return as it is, so the more product there is on the market the lower the price will go."
Woolworths' discount "Odd Bunch" fruit and vegetable line was welcomed by farmers, nutritionalists and industry groups last week.
As Coast residents tighten their purse strings over the festive season, the discount range, with its "Peculiar Parsnips", "Blemished Beetroots" and "Motley Mangoes", could be a welcome addition to shoppers' trolleys.
"Customers love the great price and farmers love being able to sell more of their crop," the Woolworths spokesperson said.
"It means our customers can buy fantastic cheap produce, with some minor imperfections, that still tastes great."
Kawana and Noosa farmers markets co-ordinator Shane Stanley said farmers would prefer all high grade, quality fruit and vegetables to be sold at the same price.
"The farmer's ideal is that all fruit - marked and not - is sold the same," he said.
"It still costs the same to produce that fruit."
Woolworths was the first supermarket to launch a national campaign for the sale of imperfect fruit and vegetables, the Woolworths spokesperson said.