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UGLY FRUITS & VEGGIES – A WASTE PROBLEM SOLVED FOR ENTEGRA CUSTOMERS

UGLY FRUITS & VEGGIES – A WASTE PROBLEM SOLVED FOR ENTEGRA CUSTOMERS

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Last Published: 08/17/2017

UGLY FRUITS & VEGGIES – A WASTE PROBLEM SOLVED FOR ENTEGRA CUSTOMERS

Every year, approximately 2.9 trillion pounds of food—about a third of all that the world produces—never gets consumed. 

 

Food is lost on farms; during processing, distribution and storage; in retail stores; in food service operations; and in households for a variety of reasons. In the U.S., about 40 percent of food goes uneaten. This not only means that Americans are throwing out the equivalent of $165 billion each year, but also that the uneaten food ends up rotting in landfills as the single largest component of U.S. municipal solid waste, where it accounts for a large portion of U.S. methane emissions.

Included in the American food waste problem are six billion pounds, annually, of produce that go largely unharvested or unsold essentially for aesthetic reasons. These scarred fruits and vegetables are regularly abandoned in the field to save the expense and labor involved in harvest. If they are harvested at all, they remain unsold in retail food outlets. These outcasts that are deformed, scarred or misshapen are called “ugly” or “imperfect” produce, or “seconds”. While this produce might be unattractive, their freshness, nutrients and quality remain intact.

The United States the USDA (US Department of Agriculture) established USDA grades and standards for fruits and vegetables in 1945. These standards provide growers and buyers with a precise language for describing the quality and condition of produce to be sold - specifying the exact color, size and features of perfect produce. US No. 1 produce is defined as premium. US No. 2 is considered a step lower and all other produce is considered lesser quality. These standards are essentially market driven as customers tend buy with their eyes. Premium grade produce sells the best and can command a higher market price. Although these standards are not government mandated, produce not meeting those standards gets rejected by produce sellers, left in the fields and wasted, or used in other, limited ways.

There has been a gradual movement to change the way the world thinks about and purchases ugly fruits and veggies. As a benefit to participating entegra customers, FreshPoint Inc. (produce), a division of Sysco, has taken a positive step toward curbing the food waste issue by partnering with local farmers to introduce their Unusual But Usable Fruits & Veggies (UBU)™ Program®. This program brings value while keeping quality and food safety a priority.  Chances are, items such as peppers, carrots, or tomatoes are not being used whole. It is common to chop them, so it makes sense to take advantage of “ugly” produce items that are priced at a lower cost. For operators, this helps to reduce food waste and overall food cost. This is a win-win for food operators and growers. While UBU™ produce may not look perfect whole, your final dish will have the same great taste and appearance and cost less at the same time!

Entegra Program Participants have access to the Freshpoint® UBU™ program and can use it to help reduce food waste, support sustainability and support the Ugly Food Movement across the world.  By utilizing this program, customers can:

  • Help reduce unnecessary waste

  • Better control your costs

  • Support local farms and serve locally grown produce

  • Assist in providing economic value to your community

  • Effortlessly assist Freshpoint® and local farmers reduce their carbon footprint

  • Help make the world a more pleasant place to work and live 

Entegra customers can find more information on entegraPS.com – Log on and go to Sustainability. There is also information at Freshpoint. If you have any other questions, feel free to write to me at David.Harral@entegraPS.com

David Harral, an entegra Team Member, is a Registered Dietitian and has over 25 years of experience in the foodservice industry. He ran his own foodservice operation, has managed multiple café operations and has trained dozens of foodservice managers. In his current role, he specializes in developing entegra’s culinary offers for all market segments.

 

Entegra Procurement Services regularly publishes blog posts on food trends and innovations in food services. Entegra is more than a group purchasing organization (GPO): Our team of procurement specialists implement strategic sourcing to bring the most value to your business. We help our clients, in many segments ranging from the healthcare supply chain to restaurant supply, to cut costs and consolidate their portfolios.

 

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