Tesco has launched its wonky veg range in Europe for the first time with a trial in 50 stores in a bid to help producers sell more of their crop.
The Perfectly Imperfect range will include potatoes, carrots and apples, and some locally-sourced produce where relevant, and will be listed in central European stores, including 12 in Hungary.
Sold at a discount price, produce will qualify for the range if the shape, weight or size does not meet regular standards but is still high quality and meets food safety regulations.
According to data from the Hungarian Food Bank Association,1.8 million tonnes of food are wasted each year in Hungary. Across the wider EU, 9.1 million tonnes of food go straight to waste during production each year, according to the Fusions 2016 report.
“By accepting fruits and vegetables that do not meet the aesthetic product specifications but are otherwise in perfect condition and can be safely consumed, Tesco helps to reduce food waste and losses generated by its suppliers, and sets a good example for other companies to follow,” said Henrietta Magyar, stakeholder relations manager at Tesco Hungary.
The news comes as the Perfectly Imperfect range has exceeded expectations in the UK, with Tesco adding new products when seasonally relevant. The success of the range in the UK was behind the decision to roll it out across Europe, the company said.
Oszkár Kovács, chairman of Hungarian cooperative Szatmárkert-Hodász Szövetkezet, said: “Fruits and vegetables of substandard size, weight or shape represent a significant problem since they cannot be sold in stores due to the retailers’ regulatory reasons, and they often have to be disposed.
“We therefore welcome Tesco’s Perfectly Imperfect initiative because this way we can reduce the amount of fruits and vegetables going to waste.”
Tesco began its food waste programme in Hungary in 2013, with surplus but edible food collected for charity from 92 participating stores.