Sydney-based social enterprise sets up call service to source ‘ugly’ produce

GF-Fruit and Veg

Australian fruit and vegetable growers now have a ‘rescue’ hotline for products rejected by retailers.

Sydney-based social enterprise Good & Fugly has set up the service to help producers avoid waste and boost revenue.

Richard Tourino, founder of Good & Fugly, said the 13-000-FUGLY hotline is a direct response to the growing volume of produce that does not meet retailers’ aesthetic specifications.

Tourino said over 25 per cent of fresh produce grown in Australian doesn’t make it past the farm gate, leaving growers at a loss, not only in revenue but for their time, energy and resources.

Founded in 2020, Good & Fugly works with local farmers to source blemished or imperfect fruits and vegetables, referred to as ‘fugly’ produce. It then sells boxes of ‘ugly’ produce directly to consumers via its website, with free delivery on both standalone and subscription orders.

“Our team is dedicated to finding ways to support all farmers across Australia – especially during these times with the supply chain shortages and floods,” said Tourino. “We’re about changing supermarkets’ beauty standards so that consumers will ultimately have access to all fruit and veg.

“What we do is better for the consumer, better for the growers and better for the planet. It’s an economically and environmentally sustainable social enterprise that Aussie farmers can get ahead with.

“The feedback from farmers has been really positive. They’re telling us we’re giving them an option that didn’t exist before.”

Paul Milano, a farmer in Swan Hill, Victoria, has partnered with Good & Fugly after retailers rejected tonnes of his fruit.

“Everyone loses when good eating quality fruit and veg goes to waste, when it’s perfectly fine for human consumption,” Milano explained.

“Last year on our farm alone 50 tonnes had to be thrown away and this kind of thing is being duplicated across Australia.

“With Good & Fugly’s rescue emergency hotline, I’m able to give them a call during retailers’ oversupply or rejections and promptly work out a win-win solution, depending on the type of produce.”