Children may shape things to come

Children are more accepting of ugly fruit and vegetables and could change the way they are are consumed, reducing food waste, University of Otago PhD student Annesha Makhal says. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Children are more accepting of ugly fruit and vegetables and could change the way they are are consumed, reducing food waste, University of Otago PhD student Annesha Makhal says. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Imperfect fruit and vegetables usually thrown away by food producers may have found a new market.

Research conducted by University of Otago marketing PhD student Annesha Makhal has shown children are more accepting than adults of imperfect fruit and vegetables.

High standards for fruits and vegetables are a major reason for almost 45% being thrown away globally every year.

Ms Makhal surveyed 97 children aged between 5 and 11, asking them to choose fruit and vegetables from a table.

She said produce that would typically be thrown away such as wonky or twisted carrots were favoured and viewed as a good thing by the children.

''We found that children find misshapen produce fun and interesting. One of the words used was cute, to describe produce with shape defects.''

Shape defects meant a unique appearance which led the children to choose the less favourable options, she said.

''An 8-year-old boy said he didn't mind how a carrot was bent because he liked all sorts of carrots.

''An 11-year-old girl said she preferred the uglier carrot because it was different and twisted.''

Ms Makhal said the role of children in bigger issues has been downplayed, but their voices could have valuable input in the fight against food waste.

''Their voices are now being increasingly heard.

The United Nations has a goal to halve food loss and waste by 2030 which New Zealand has also adopted, Ms Makhal said.

''Meeting this goal means that we need to identify areas where food waste could be avoided.

''This is where my research comes in.''

Comments

"Imperfect fruit and vegetables usually thrown away by food producers", err no, imperfect fruit and veges being thrown away is being driven by supermarkets trying to convince their customers that imperfect fruit/veges is no good.

 

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