Fighting Food Waste, Whole Foods Will Start Selling 'Ugly' Produce In April

Whole Foods Market will begin selling "ugly" and cosmetically imperfect fruits and vegetables at select stores in Northern California — a first for American supermarkets, and one of The Daily Meal's top food and drink predictions for 2016.

Typically, grocers reject any produce that is not aesthetically appealing even if there is nothing else wrong with the item, leading to an embarrassing amount of food waste. In a single year, the United States throws out approximately 133 billion pounds of food, or one-third of its total food supply.

Meanwhile, one in six Americans lacks dependable access to food.

Beginning in late April, Whole Foods will begin giving ugly, lumpy, and dented fruits and vegetables the shelf space they deserve. The initiative is a collaboration with Imperfect Produce, a startup that delivers heavily discounted ugly produce to homes in California. As a popular retailer, Whole Foods' adoption of ugly produce is likely to encourage other grocers to do the same, cutting down the volume of otherwise healthy food that is unnecessarily tossed every year.

"Our goal is zero waste," Whole Foods said in a statement, "and we're always looking for ways to reduce our collective impact and positively influence the industry."