The Regency Purchasing Group, which provides goods and services to pubs, is calling on hospitality businesses to lead by example and reap the rewards by cutting their own costs and reducing needless waste.
The call comes in the wake of the publication of the Food Waste Report, by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, which urged more use of wonky vegetables.
“Years ago, no one worried about what shape their fruit and vegetables were. They grow naturally, so nobody expected perfectly round tomatoes or smooth potatoes without some lumps and bumps; it was much more about what was below the surface,” said managing director Alex Demetriou.
“But people have become conditioned to believe their food items should be specific shapes or sizes. This mentality means plenty of perfectly good produce is needlessly wasted and leaves suppliers unable to sell some stock which is just as nutritionally good for you as the perfect-looking items.”
He said that this puts unnecessary pressure on suppliers, and can mean increased prices for the limited quantity of perfectly shaped produce.
“At a time when many businesses within the hospitality industry are struggling to balance their books, pubs and restaurants can make significant savings of up to 12% just by buying the less attractive-looking produce,” he said.
“This reduces the pressure on their balance sheets as well as reducing pressure on suppliers, and cuts waste. Less waste means more product availability, which helps keep prices down.
“Chefs commonly cut, dice or mash a product long before it is ever seen by the consumer, so as long as the quality is good, caterers can achieve their savings without customers having any idea that the delicious food they are eating did not start out as perfectly shaped produce.”
The latest Government report claims food waste costs the average person in the UK £200 every year, with estimates of up to one third of produce grown by farmers currently ending up as food waste because it is not the right shape or size.
The Regency Purchasing Group, buys goods and services for 2,400 businesses across the UK, wants the hospitality industry to lead by example, and to reap the rewards by cutting their own costs and reducing needless waste.