Eating Your Ugly Fruits and Vegetables

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The sustainability of fresh fruit and vegetables does not solely depend on the pesticides or preservatives farmers use on their crops. Rather, it is a combination of effects incorporating the chain of distribution. Fruits and vegetables are sold according to how they look and not how they taste, providing a false quality about them. Consumers are much more apt to buy a perfectly round bright red apple than a small lopsided dull colored apple.
Grocery stores then, take this in to consideration when picking what apples to sell in their produce sections. However, many of the apples that fail to meet the "cosmetic standards", are those that have excellent flavor and nutritional quality. These apples then go on to be mashed up for fruit juices, sauces, fillings, or sweeteners--some of which destroy the fruit's nutritional value. More sustainable ways to make use of these "ugly" fruits all begins with the demand for them.
Consumers must value nutrition over appeal and practice that when purchasing their fruits and vegetables. Grocery stores could set out sampling trays of various fruits and vegetables for customers to try before they purchase them. Having the fruits and vegetables cut up into small pieces would help make the overall image of the produce not be a deciding factor in consumption.

2 Comments

This article amazes me. If we're in such an "obesity epidemic" why wouldn't retailers be more supportive in selling us foods that are going to aid in our nutrition most? Money, of course. If a grocer can make more money on "pretty" apples, regardless of if they have the highest nutritional value, they're going to sell them first. I think it is our duty as consumers to educate ourselves on the fresh produce, since retailers clearly aren't going to do so. We can either support local vendors like those at farmers markets, or buy 'uglier' produce in hopes to get fresh fruits of higher nutritional value back on the shelves, regardless of its appearance.

What I don't understand is this: we have been taught for so long that way to distinguish a fully ripe healthy apple versus a moldy apple was by the look of it. If we do not have this to rely on, how are we to tell what is the most nutritional fruit for us to eat? If we randomly choose to try an "ugly" apple how can we tell if the apple is actually ugly or if the apple just a delicious treat in disguise? Fixxx030 makes an excellent point though. People only buy "pretty" fruit and vegetables, but I think this is because we don't know how else to distinguish the best and most ripe from the older less healthy apple. However, if our country is facing this huge "obesity epidemic" why are the consumers caring and being selective about what kinds of health foods they are eating? Would they not just eat an apple in an effort to reduce this epidemic?

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This page contains a single entry by Ashley published on October 25, 2010 12:45 PM.

CDC Revises Estimates of Increase in Diabetes was the previous entry in this blog.

Organic Farming on the Rise in Minnesota is the next entry in this blog.

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