In Europe, a sad scenario has unfolded. Despite the increasing poverty and hunger, about a third of the food produced in Europe is thrown away because of its look, without regard to its good quality. 30% of our food is simply wasted due to the market’s standardizing trend. In Lisbon, Fruta Feia, or Ugly Fruit is trying to turn that around – with success.
Founded in 2013 by Isabel Soares, Fruta Feia is a co-op that saves and sells imperfect fruit for a low price. It focuses on the 30% of fruits and vegetables produced by farmers that are directly thrown away because they are unfit for the market in terms of aesthetics, despite meeting all quality and safety requirements.
Fruta Feia “aims to fight the market inefficiency by changing consumption patterns and creating an alternative market to ‘ugly’ fruits and vegetables. A market that values farmers and consumers, and that can prevent food waste as well as the unnecessary use of resources to their production.” Fortunately, these alternative consumers are there and so is their movement.
This movement is more than necessary on a global scale. “According to FAO, developed countries waste more than 1,3 thousand of million tons of food every year, enough to feed 925 million people that are starving worldwide. In Portugal, the waste goes up to 1,7 million tons per year, according to PERDA (2002).” According to Fruta Feia’s website, food waste occurs throughout the supply process. Intensive production, inadequate storage and transportation, tight expiration dates and discounts encouraging unreasonable consumption contribute to food waste.
Fruta Feia opened its first delivery point at Anjos’ neighborhood on November 18th 2013, and won the 2nd award of the Ideas of Portuguese Origin contest the same year. Now, with three delivery points, Fruta Feia saves about 4 tons of waste per week. Until now, it has saved over 160 tons of fruit from being wasted and has raised much awareness. In the future, Fruta Feia hopes to create an equal market for all fruits and vegetables by changing consumption patterns.