- Produce recovery startup Hungry Harvest has released a new set of emojis featuring "ugly" produce through a new app in an effort to raise awareness about food waste, as reported by Mashable.
- The free Ugly Produce! package offers misshapen potatoes, carrots, strawberries and other options.
- Hungry Harvest is currently petitioning Unicode, Apple and Google to include the emojis in their standard keyboard packages.
Hungry Harvest is among a small group of companies now working to divert "ugly" or imperfect produce from farms to people who can eat it. According to ReFED, integrating more of this imperfect produce into stores and restaurants could help divert an estimated 266,000 pounds of waste and save hundreds of millions of dollars. This policy has also been championed by food waste organizations such as Feedback and promoted by campaigns such as Ugly Fruit and Veg.
Wal-Mart and Whole Foods have both begun pilot programs to sell imperfect produce in select stories and the concept has been gaining traction on social media. Reducing waste at the farm and retail level is seen as a crucial step toward reaching the federal goal of cutting food waste in half by 2030. While new educational programs have been launched and studies are ongoing the issue doesn't seem to be commonly recognized yet.
According to one study published over the summer, more than half of respondents were aware that food waste is a problem but a similar percentage weren't willing to change their behavior to address it. As is the case with general recycling education, young people are seen as the key to turning things around. New emojis won't solve the problem, but they could at least start some conversations about it.