Waste Not, Want Not

Shoppers can be picky about produce. A slightly bruised apple or misshapen tomato can sometimes be enough to let a perfectly good item go to waste. Vig’s Health Food Store of Lewiston, ID, recently decided to do something about it by introducing the Imperfect Produce Bin. The store has deep roots in selling produce, though it is strong in supplements sales today.

“We only sell organic produce, but it’s a shame that you have to throw so much away because people don’t always want to pay a higher price for something that isn’t perfect,” says Keirstyn Johnson, store manager. “Any time you sell produce, there’s going to be some waste. I don’t think it should be so large just because something isn’t beautiful. Organic produce isn’t always beautiful, but it always tastes best.”

The store reduced prices for bruised or ugly produce to $0.99 per pound for all types of fruits and vegetables. Johnson says the Imperfect Produce Bin pulls in bargain-hunting shoppers with items they might not normally see, and encourages add-on purchases. It’s also more eco-friendly than creating unnecessary food waste.

The store places the bin within its regular produce section rather than putting it somewhere separate. “If someone is here to buy organic produce, they can also get a good deal on imperfect items. I think people will like it,” Johnson states.

It Worked for Me

Retailers: Did you implement a unique solution that worked great for your store? Tell us about it: KaylynnEbner@wfcinc.com.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, November 2014