food

Spinneys to sell 'ugly vegetables' in the UAE

'I am imperfect' line to sell for lower price; vegetables offer same nutritional value

Keith J Fernandez | Group Editor
05:09 February 26, 2017
ugly veg

Imperfectly shaped fruit and vegetables will soon go on sale in the UAE — and consumers will benefit. 

Spinneys supermarkets will launch a new line of misshapen or oddly sized fruit and vegetables within the next few weeks, Martin Jorge Aguirre, the brand’s Commercial Manager for Fresh Produce told GN Focus. “Most farmers meet our specifications about 95 per cent of the time, but there’s still a gap,” he said. 

The new line, to be called I am Imperfect, will retail about 20 per cent lower than conventional produce, he said. 

The move ties into local initiatives to reduce food waste across the country.  In January, Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the UAE Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, launched the UAE Food Bank, as part of an effort to achieve zero food waste. The move was part of the UAE’s Year of Giving initiative 

in 2017. About Dh12.8 billion worth of food goes to landfills in the UAE each year, according to Alpen Capital. 

Same nutritional value

Supermarkets around the world have championed the cause of ‘ugly’ fruit and vegetables, including the hipster-friendly Whole Foods in the US and the French brand Intermarché.

Fruit and vegetables can grow unevenly because of unusual weather or other conditions, said Mohamed Rashid Sulaiman Al Naqbi, Agriculture Engineer at Elite Agro, an Abu Dhabi-based farming company.

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