I wrote a blog about the price of being picky a few weeks ago, regarding bananas. In today’s Age there is another article along the same vane: A blight on us for a perfectly fruity fetish. It is a good read.
Seems we are caught in a futile and downward spiral here. Consumers are to blame for picking he best produce, and then the supermarkets are only catering to our needs. Farmers are left trying to compete with such standards, and unable to sell some of what they produce, if at all.
Then we are making the less than perfect produce unmarketable – dumpable. And it’s all our fault. You and me.
How do we combat such issues? Where do you and I, the lone consumers start?
Well for starters, I have no idea. What I do know is that I don’t want to continue operating like this. Could we create a market for all of the unloved fruit and veges? My local supermarket isn’t going to start selling me it’s less than perfect produce.
Could we start marketing great ways of using the less then perfect fruit for sauces, jams, desserts, or the less than beautiful vegetables for other uses. Create a market of it’s own. We are marketed to with objects of perfection in cook books, magazines, cooking programmes on television, we demand such perfection when we go out to dinner and are paying an arm and a leg to have our tastebuds tantalised, and we try to emulate these themes at home. Why not try and market what to do with less then stunning tomatoes, what is the best use for an abundance of overripe fruit?
Or could we create urban community stockfeed for the produce that appeals to less discerning customers (ie chooks, guinea pigs, rabbits). We could cater right down to the needs of the least discerning customers – worms! If the price was right, I would definitely be in for it.
Does anyone else have any bright ideas? Any suggestions would be welcomed!
2 Comments Add yours
We need to create an alternative marketplace for the producers other than the supermarkets.
The supermarkets have created the illusion of a monopoly both from the producer and consumer’s perspective.
There’s a reason why farmer’s markets are so popular — you get the real thing for a real price! This shows that creating more outlets for goods will help keep everyone honest.
Currently it’s not economical to try to sell bad fruit. But as you said, there’s demand for it, so the free market should prevail. If there was a marketplace which is low cost and hassle-free, there would be no need to waste it.
In my humble opinion, the Internet will become the medium for this marketplace where buyers and sellers could find each other (for anything, really). Ebay is a great example of how the Internet has worked to match supply to demand that previously didn’t occur.
I don’t think supermarkets are the way to buy fruit or vegetables. Markets (especially farmers markets) and even green grocers, often have seconds, or fruit that is cheaper just because it is too small, or too large to fit the “standard”. I urge everyone to make the effort to walk past that supermarket to their local small businesses to buy fruit, veggies, and meat. It is a start. We visited the US a few years ago. There were no butchers, greengrocers, or bakeries…just huge supermarkets. I don’t want to live, or eat, like that.