Cupid's Pulse Article: Food Trend: Top 5 Reasons You Should Eat Imperfect FoodCupid's Pulse Article: Food Trend: Top 5 Reasons You Should Eat Imperfect Food

By Mara Miller

We’ve got some fun food advice for you! Everyone does it–you see a banana turn brown, so you either throw it into the freezer for a smoothie at a later date or it goes straight into the trash because it’s no longer perfect. As a society, we have trained ourselves to only look for flawless produce because we perceive it as healthier to consume rather than an apple that is misshapen or two carrots that grew together. For that reason alone, 40% of food grown in the US goes uneatenA recent food trend is now encouraging people to eat more imperfect food.

The latest food trend sheds light on a new perspective surrounding imperfect food. Here are five ways avoiding oddly-shaped food can be a bad thing:

1. It’s harder on farmers: Have you ever grown your own garden? Not every tomato will come out perfect, but would you waste it? Some might have a tiny bit of scaring or may have grown funny. Farmers lose money when there isn’t a market for their imperfect produce, which most often rots before it can reach you, the consumer.

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2. It’s bad for the budget: Have you ever bought green tomatoes for your fried green tomato recipe, but then got upset because it’s starting to turn red? Or got upset because your lettuce has wilted? Pause next time before you throw out a fruit or vegetable because it no longer looks perfect. Romaine lettuce, in particular, can be broken from the heart and placed in a cup of water for a few minutes before you put it on a sandwich to help it become firmer. Put your new red tomato on the sandwich too and try to let go of the impression that everything has to be perfect for you to eat it.

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3. Hungry people: According to research, 30 million Americans go hungry each year. Imagine how many people you could help if you donated imperfect food you don’t want to a food bank or a soup kitchen in your area? This way, if you can’t bring yourself to eat the scarred fruit or misshapen vegetables, at least donating it will ensure that a struggling family gets to have something nutritious and healthy.

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4. It hurts the environment: When perfectly good food ends up being wasted because it doesn’t meet certain criteria, you have therefore wasted the resources like water, fertilizer, and cropland. These resources used to grow the food that could have otherwise gone to the farmer’s land for something else. Think about this next time you look for the perfect green pepper or onion!

5. It’s contributing to global warming: Food that ends up in a landfill because it is uneaten adds methane to the air, a greenhouse gas that is 23 times more potent than C02. If you are environmentally conscious and this alarms you, think about how much the effects of rotting food could be reduced if everyone would start eating imperfect food. There would be less waste, fewer people would go hungry, and it would help our agricultural community.

Are there any other reasons you might want to try eating imperfect food? Do you think you might change the way you shop for produce? Let us know in the comments below!