Encourage Whole Foods to Reduce Food Waste

Odd Strawberry

Target: Walter E. Robb, CEO of Whole Foods Market

Goal: Promote the sale of “ugly” fruits and vegetables to reduce food waste

In the United States alone, almost 40% of all the food produced each year is thrown away. About one third of all the food produced in the world meets the same fate. Obviously a lot of food is being thrown in the garbage, but this also means that we are taxing the environment more than it is necessary. By producing 40% more food than is consumed, we are wasting water; over using chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides; contributing to greenhouse gas emissions; and increasing methane gas emissions due to the tons of decomposing food in our landfills. In fact, organic waste is the second most prevalent substance in U.S. landfills.

Luckily, with awareness of the food waste issue, we can make a big change. A French grocery store chain recently launched a campaign to sell “ugly” fruits and vegetables. The supermarket chain promoted “ugly” fruits and vegetables, gave them a new image, and reduced the sticker price on these items as an incentive for customers to buy the equally tasty produce. The high aesthetic standards of consumers means that usually the majority of produce is thrown away even before it can be seen by shoppers. Therefore, the promotion and sale of “ugly” fruits and vegetables is a great way to address the food waste issue.

We should be doing the same thing in the United States. According to a 2012 NRDC (National Resource Defense Council) study, 52% of fruits and vegetables produced are thrown away, meaning that we only eat 48% of our fruits and veggies. Whole Foods Market is a perfect candidate to lead the way in the fight to reduce food waste. Whole Foods Market is notorious for promoting environmental sustainability, stocking natural products, being a fair employer, and providing a host of produce.

Whole Foods is already aware of the approximately 1.3 billion tons of food waste created each year. It began composting its own food waste and paper bags in order to combat the internal production of organic waste, but it can do more. Tell Whole Foods market to sell “ugly” produce and help America reduce its food waste.


Dear Mr. Robb,

The United States throws away 52% of the fruits and vegetables grown each year. This is a significant contributor to the 1.3 billion tons of food waste that the world creates annually. One of the major factors that leads to all this waste is the promotion of “perfect” produce. Because consumers aren’t exposed to fruits and vegetables of different shapes, their standers are askew, and this leads to mounds of produce being thrown away even before consumers have a chance to see it.

Whole Foods Market has an image of being environmentally responsible and has made efforts in the past to improve its practices in order to reduce its environmental impact. The addition of composting bins for Whole Foods Market paper bags and unsold food was a great idea, but you can do a lot more to prevent organic waste.

A French supermarket chain recently began selling “ugly” fruits and vegetables that would typically be thrown away. It promoted the interesting looking produce and gave samples of prepared foods using what most people would generally overlook. It also sold the produce at a discounted price and found that in two days it had gone through all of its stock of “ugly” produce. If any store in the US is able to rebrand “ugly” fruits and vegetables, it is Whole Foods Market. I support the idea to sell unconventionally shaped fruits and vegetables, and I encourage you to lead America on the path to significantly improve our food waste problem.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Silverije via Wikipedia

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One Comment

  1. Is there a petition to sell ugly fruits and vegetables in Canadian Whole Foods Stores? Please forward if there is!

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