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Bon Appétit Addresses Food Waste – Part 1

At last, someone is recognizing the value of the ugly ducklings of the food world. 

A crooked carrot tastes the same as a straight one. When grated into a salad, who cares, right? That’s the philosophy behind Imperfectly Delicious Produce, an initiative of the Bon Appétit Management Company. Headquartered in Palo Alto, California, the company operates 500 cafes at universities, museums, and other venues in 33 states. 

“We slice and dice our produce. Flavor, not appearance, is what matters most,” says Bon Appétit’s company waste specialist, Claire Cummings. 

Cummings adds that the company has rescued more than 80 tons of food that would have been dumped just because of cosmetic issues.

“We’re really seeking to identify the products that are going to waste. This is very different from just saying, ‘We’ll buy the number twos,’ or whatever products you would send to a juicing facility or whatever tomatoes would go to canning,” says Cummings. “There is certainly merit in that. It’s putting more money back in the pockets of farmers, but what we want to do is truly reduce waste on farms.”

Cummings says growers invest in producing and harvesting a crop and believes it’s a shame to see that money and effort wasted. Yet, she says they also don’t want their reputations harmed over quality issues. 

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