Countdown shows the love to ugly fruit and veges

Food that would otherwise be wasted finds a home with The Odd Bunch

20 February 2017: Countdown stores nationwide will celebrate ugly fruit and veges with the launch of The Odd Bunch, a new initiative designed to help cut food waste, take more produce from growers, and make healthy food more affordable for customers.

In the first initiative of its kind in New Zealand, The Odd Bunch makes the ‘ugly’ produce that may not have typically made it to supermarket shelves, due to small imperfections or cosmetic damage, available to customers at a reduced price. Customers who don’t mind a few hail spots on their fruit, or misshapen but still nutritious vegetables, will find the cheaper produce in clearly identifiable and recyclable packaging within Countdown’s produce range.

The first produce to join The Odd Bunch will be hail-damaged stone fruit and carrots, with more fruit and vegetables appearing on shelves in the coming months. As with all things Mother Nature has to offer, The Odd Bunch availability is based on both the season and supply, and stock will vary from store to store. The Odd Bunch will also be available online when it is stocked in-store.

Countdown’s General Manager Merchandise, Chris Fisher, says The Odd Bunch is about reducing food waste, supporting growers by taking more of their crop, and helping to make healthy food more affordable for Kiwis.

“The Odd Bunch is great news for shoppers, growers and the environment,” says Chris Fisher.

“There are any number of reasons why produce might look a little unusual, from growing at an odd angle to being affected by the weather. It still tastes great and is just as nutritious as regular produce.  With The Odd Bunch Countdown can help our suppliers sell produce that may not have typically made it to supermarket shelves and we think many shoppers will forgive a little ugliness to help combat food waste and save,” he says.

Jenny Marshall, spokesperson for Love Food Hate Waste, says that they are very supportive of The Odd Bunch as it all helps Kiwis’ food waste.

“With more than 120,000 tonnes of food going into landfills across New Zealand every year, Love Food Hate Waste is heartened to see Countdown going the extra mile to find ways to reduce waste at the beginning of the food chain.  Imperfect fruit and veges can still be delicious and we have lots of recipes and advice on our website which would be perfect for The Odd Bunch,” says Marshall.

Kevin Wilcox, Managing Director of A S Wilcox and Sons says they are excited to be supplying onions, carrots and potatoes for The Odd Bunch launch.

“As a grower we take pride in supplying premium quality vegetables, however, it’s frustrating to witness a portion of our produce going to waste simply on account of shape or other cosmetic defect that has no bearing on the taste or nutritional value of the vegetable,” he says.  “Countdown is to be congratulated on launching this programme which will allow consumers to participate in reducing food waste.” 

Countdown is the first New Zealand supermarket brand to sell ‘ugly’ fruit and vegetables at a national scale. The Odd Bunch is packaged in polyethylene, a single resin recyclable plastic that can be recycled in selected stores as part of Countdown’s soft plastics recycling programme.

The price of The Odd Bunch produce will vary depending on seasonal price fluctuations and stock availability.

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