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May not be pretty, but just as delicious!

Pavol HALASZ

CE Produce Category buying manager, Tesco

For me, the introduction of a new product line is always a rather stirring and exciting task. After carefully selecting the suppliers, designing the product’s packaging and receiving the actual goods, we eagerly wait for the customers’ reactions. Will they love the new products as much as we do? Now, with the introduction of our Perfectly Imperfect fruit and vegetable selection, I’m particularly excited. These are not just new products, they are far more important than that—they are our newest tools in our fight against food waste.

Our internal product specifications allow us to offer the best quality products to our customers each day, and to fill our shelves with premium grade products all the time. This however means that products with aesthetic deficiencies are often screened out and treated as waste by the producers. These fruits and vegetables are safely edible and are only lacking in terms of shape or size. They might be smaller or larger than the average, have a slight curve to their shape or small flaws on their skin. However, we like them just same—You know, it always makes you smile when you happen to find a heart-shaped potato in the potato bag.

By introducing our new selection we now give these special "Perfectly Imperfect" products a chance. From now on we will accept apples, carrots, beetroots and potatoes of non-standard weight, size or shape but still of perfect quality. This allows Tesco to accept more products, producers to waste less edible food and customers to buy delicious and healthy fruits and vegetables at a really affordable price.

This program is highly popular in British Tesco stores. That’s why we decided to run a pilot version and make the selection available to our customers in 50 of our Central European stores, including 12 stores in Hungary. We are launching the pilot phase with a selection of currently seasonal winter fruits and vegetables (i.e. apples, carrots and potatoes in Hungary), but I hope customers of the region will welcome the program with the same enthusiasm as our UK customers did, so we will be able to expand the selection and its availability.

I’ve been quite eager to see these irregular veggies on the shelves. I will surely buy some smaller potatoes for the weekend BBQ, and choose some carrots to prepare healthy snacks for the family.