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Ugly produce hits UAE shelves

Efforts to reduce waste are multiplying in the UAE, with Spinneys the first retailer to offer a range of misshapen produce

Ugly produce hits UAE shelves

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UAE retailer Spinneys is launching a range of so-called “ugly” fruit and vegetables as part of its new ‘I am imperfect’ line, according to a report from Gulf News.

The range, made up of misshapen or oddly sized items, will be offered at a discount of around 20 per cent.

The line, which is set to go on sale in the coming weeks, is aimed at reducing waste, along with various other local initiatives.

In January, Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, launched the UAE Food Bank as part of a plan to achieve zero food waste.

The effort was part of the UAE’s Year of Giving initiative in 2017. According to Alpen Capital, around Dh12.8bn worth of food goes to landfills in the UAE each year.

“Most farmers meet our specifications about 95 per cent of the time,” said Martin Jorge Aguirre, Spinneys’ commercial manager for fresh produce, “but there’s still a gap.”

Fruit and vegetables can grow unevenly because of unfavourable weather or other conditions, said Mohamed Rashid Sulaiman Al Naqbi, agriculture engineer at Abu Dhabi producer Elite Agro.

However, because of their visual imperfections, consumers tend to leave them on the shelves. “No matter what the vegetables look like, they can still be eaten,” said Al Naqbi. “They taste the same and offer the same nutritional value.”

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