UGLY Produce is having it’s moment

by yogalife_user
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The time is ripe for Ugly fruits and vegetables, says EROEGO, UAE’s first ‘Ugly’ fruit and vegetable delivery service. We find out more.

Eating healthy can be pricey, but despite this, around 1 million tonnes of food is still wasted each year in the UAE alone. A lot of this waste is caused by the ‘ugly’ problem – this bit of veg is ‘too big’, that one is ‘too small’, and the other has a ‘funny shape’.  Other common reasons include items being close to their ‘sell by’ date, excess produce not being needed, packaging that is out of date and cosmetic reasons, such as unusual colouring. What does this mean for the current grocery ecosystem? A third of the food grown globally is wasted, and while food waste is only increasing – some people still have no access to food.

When this food goes in the bin, not only does it waste the food produce, but it also wastes the energy, water and resources that went into making it. EroeGo believes unnecessary food waste must stop, certainly in the UAE where 1 million tonnes of perfectly good food is wasted every year.  

EroeGo is fighting food waste and expensive grocery bills:

EroeGo was founded to rescue delicious, fresh, ‘ugly’ groceries so farmers and wholesalers who could not sell them can now do so. All the while, they are delivering these quality, affordable groceries right to consumer doorsteps in only one click, saving them time and making their grocery bills cheaper. By creating this win-win formula, EroeGo allows consumers to have better access to veg and fruit while reducing food waste in the UAE.

So how does it work?

EroeGo ties up with wholesalers, farmers and retailers to ensure produce that may have otherwise gone to waste lands on consumer’s doorsteps instead.

EroeGo has created a platform where consumers choose a box of fruit and/or veg that’ll suit their needs and dietary requirements, then simply order it in one click from the comfort of their home. EroeGo associates will pack the produce and deliver that box of quality, sustainable groceries every week with minimal or no emissions where possible.

Not only will consumers eat better and cut their grocery bills by up to 30%, but also help rescue perfectly good food, reduce water waste and cut down CO2 emissions – making the world a cleaner, more sustainable place.

And, for every box delivered, EroeGo will provide meals for two people facing hunger to help fight inequality.

A box for every need:

With EroeGo, consumers can choose a grocery box that’s perfect for them, with up to 10 types of veg and 5 types of fruit per delivery.

From carrots to mangoes and butternut squash to bananas, EroeGo has a rich selection of groceries for your fresh produce delivery, so you’ll have plenty of delicious fruit and veg to enjoy at home, in the office, or at school.

By buying ‘ugly’ vegetables and weird food, you help EroeGo rescue delicious, fresh imperfect fruit and vegetables that would normally go to waste. So, EroeGo gets your fresh groceries delivered straight to your door, and even fight food waste and inequality while they’re at it – providing 2 people meals for every box, delivered to you. 

Each week, consumers get a new item added to their box, offering some variety while promoting a healthy lifestyle. Some of the best features of EroeGo boxes also include:

  • No strings attached
  • Cancel any time
  • Enjoy free delivery
  • Delivered every 1 or 2 weeks

We talk to the founder Daniel Solomon:

What’s the catch?

Through EroeGo’s partnership with food producers, farmers and wholesalers, consumers get access to produce that’s perfectly good and fresh, just a little ‘ugly’, which allows EroeGo to make it cheaper. But the look and size of EroeGo produce does not define it – In fact, it often tastes better than what you’d typically find in a grocery store, and it’s fresher as well because it wouldn’t have been stored for as long.

How did EroeGo happen?

On my travels, I’ve always found it unfair that some people throw so much food away, while others – especially back home in Nigeria – struggle to get a decent meal every day.

I’ve been lucky enough to call Dubai ‘home’ for around a decade now, but I was shocked to find out that the GCC is among the most prominent food wasters in the world.

In the UAE alone, nearly 1 million tonnes of food – worth over 4 billion dollars – is wasted every year.

So, I decided to do something about it.

With a vision to end this mass global issue of food waste, by making food more accessible and affordable, I made a start right here in Dubai.

Does repurposing and selling ugly produce mean that less money is passed onto farmers for this produce?

We call it the win-win formula.

We drive savings for consumers and retailers, and we help to make the planet a better place.

Farmers often can’t sell a lot of their produce in supermarkets simply because of how it looks. Superficial standards mean that stores won’t stock ‘ugly’ food – fruit and veg that is ‘too big’, ‘too small’, or has a ‘funny shape’.

But, we rescue this food and find a new home for it. And, when we do, it turns into increased return for farmers, food producers and wholesalers.

How do they benefit?

For our partners, the benefit isn’t just an increase in revenue, but it’s knowledge that they’re helping to make the world a better place, too – for every bit that’s food rescued, we’re preventing the resources that went into growing it from being wasted as well.

What about the premise that such food should go to compost or livestock first, not to mention the underserved populations who can’t easily access healthy, affordable food? How do you take that into account?

To start, I think many of us – including me – use the terms ‘food waste’ and ‘food loss’ interchangeably, when they’re actually very different.

The problem of ‘food waste’ is that perfectly good food is wasted just because of the way it looks – the fruit or veg can’t be sold in supermarkets because it is considered to be ‘too big’, ‘too small’ or ‘funny-shaped’. Sometimes, packaging might be out of date or, in the case of a wholesaler, excess produce cannot be sold.

So, the question is, is taking this delicious, fresh, perfectly good food for compost or livestock the most practical solution?

Eating healthily can be pricey, so rather than throwing this perfectly fresh healthy food onto a compost heap, we’re helping to make it more affordable and accessible to consumers instead.

‘Food loss’, then, occurs because of issues when the produce is being grown or stored, or even when it’s being processed or distributed.

In this case, compost or livestock may be a practical solution, but I will leave that to food loss experts.

Wasn’t canning and freezing produce the way to deal with perishability until now? What changed that?

Nowadays, people are more aware of what they’re putting into their bodies, so they want to eat fresh, healthy food, especially when it comes to fruit and vegetables.

Of course, understanding the proper way to store your food will help prolong it and avoid waste, but more people are exploring how to be healthier now, which was only accelerated by COVID 19 pandemic.

Why, in your opinion, is our food system broken? And why do we have so much food waste?

The food system is broken. At the moment, 1/3 of all food grown is wasted. Think of it?

And, when we talk of the planet, people still aren’t aware that 8% of the total greenhouse gas emissions are caused by food waste.

As mentioned earlier, we have so much waste because good food is rejected by large corporations, simply because of the ‘ugly’ problems stated above. 68% of the food produced does not reach consumers since farmers have to ensure it all looks perfect before being sent to supermarkets.

Then, to top it all off, this food waste prompts unaffordability and inaccessibility.

Is there anything consumers can do to waste less food? Your tips. USP of EroeGo.

For us, we say, fight food waste by ordering your groceries with us. Not only will you get delicious, sustainable, affordable fruit and veg right to your door in only one click, but we’ll turn your weekly grocery shopping into an easy, enjoyable experience.

You’ll save food, you’ll save money, and you’ll help save the planet too. That’s the power of your weekly grocery delivery

For more information on EroeGo, visit https://www.eroego.com or https://www.instagram.com/eroegomena/

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