A growing number of countries are taking action against food waste by selling misshapen or damaged produce in supermarkets. On the back of this trend, Countdown is launching The Odd Bunch, a brand-new initiative that makes fruit and vegetables with small imperfections and cosmetic damage available to customers at a low price. Apart from cutting food waste, the move will also help Countdown take more produce from growers and make healthy food more affordable.

As 120,000 tonnes of food go into landfills across New Zealand, growers often see their fruit or veges going to waste simply because of their imperfect shape.

“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,” said Chris Fisher, general manager merchandise, Countdown. “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.”

Hail-damaged stone fruit and carrots will be the first to join the Odd Bunch. The selection will be based on both the season and supply, with stock varying from store to store. Fruit and veges are packaged in polyethylene, a single-resin recyclable plastic that can be recycled in selected stores as part of Countdown’s soft plastics recycling programme.