Sanitation Worker Challenges Whole Foods and Walmart to Stop Trashing Produce

Bay Area resident Jordan Figueiredo is asking the companies to put imperfect fruits and veggies on store shelves

A bunch of gnarled carrots or an apple that’s not perfectly round and rosy are just as nutritious as produce that isn’t misshapen, but that doesn’t stop the nation’s grocery stores from consigning so-called ugly fruits and veggies to the trash. And perhaps no one sees the magnitude of wasted food more than someone who deals with garbage for a living.

That’s why Jordan Figueiredo, a 36-year-old solid waste specialist for the Castro Valley Sanitary District in California, is challenging Walmart and Whole Foods to start carrying imperfect produce in their stores. He’s teamed up with Stefanie Sacks, a New York–based culinary nutritionist and author of the book What the Fork Are You Eating?, on a petition that calls for both retailers to start selling ugly fruits and vegetables.

“I work with the community to reduce waste, and upon learning more about the massive impacts of food waste I was compelled to do much more than just encourage people to compost—what most local programs focus on,” says Figueiredo.

Because the American public has been trained to turn up its collective nose at produce with lumps, bumps, and other imperfections, the petition is asking Walmart and Whole Foods to launch a campaign promoting “uglies,” similar to what French supermarket chain Intermarch√© did in 2014.

Read more here.