Wonky veg proves to be a sell out

Staff at ASDA supermarket, Wigan, from left, Hazel Bulpitt, Tim Hall, Rachael Harmer and Sheila Bolton, with a box of Wonky Veg which have been flying off the shelves

Staff at ASDA supermarket, Wigan, from left, Hazel Bulpitt, Tim Hall, Rachael Harmer and Sheila Bolton, with a box of Wonky Veg which have been flying off the shelves

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WONKY veg boxes have arrived at Wigan Asda - and proved so popular they sold out in less than a day.

Inspired by TV chef Jamie Oliver and farmer-turned-food campaigner Jimmy Doherty, the boxes are filled with discounted wonky or knobbly veg which would normally go to waste and have been introduced at the Wigan and Leigh stores as part of a permanent roll-out.

The boxes, which were introduced on Thursday, have proved so popular in the borough that on Friday morning, nearly every store had sold out.

But for those who want to give wonky veg a try, they will be back next week.

Asda has committed to making the selection box of “ugly” fruit and vegetables a permanent initiative and has committed to putting 10,000 boxes in to 550 stores, at least once a month.

The initiative has been championed during the latest series of Channel 4’s Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast, with the foodie stars challenging Asda to extend its wonky fruit and vegetable range even further, which led to the new development.

Shoppers in Wigan and Leigh will now be able to buy the much-talked about £3.50 family sized boxes that includes nine in-season misshaped winter vegetables.

It follows the resounding success of last week’s small trial at just a handful of Asda stores in the South of England.

The initiative has also been championed during the latest series of Channel 4’s Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast, with the foodie stars challenging Asda to extend its wonky fruit and vegetable range even further, which led to the new development.

Each box includes 5kg of fresh produce which is enough to feed a family of four for a working week and costs just £3.50 - 30 per cent cheaper than standard lines.

The contents of the wonky fruit and vegetable box will vary dependant on the season but customers can expect to see things such as: carrots, potatoes, peppers, cucumber, cabbage, leeks, parsnips and onions, to name a few.

Customer research shows that 65 per cent of Asda customers are now open to the idea of wonky veg and 75 per cent are drawn in by the significantly low price, which led to the range becoming a permanent fixture in the following stores in Wigan and Leigh.

Asda has said that the positive reaction from customers means four times the amount of wonky produce will be sold in over four times the amount of stores originally planned.

This latest extension of the initiative by Asda alone will result in at least 500 tonnes of “waste” fruit and vegetables being taken from farmers and sold in the supermarket by the end of 2016.

Ian Harrison, Asda’s produce quality director, said: “We’ve been absolutely overwhelmed by the response to our wonky vegetable box and think it shows just how conscious our customers are of food waste, particularly in the produce aisle.

“We knew from our initial research that customers aren’t phased by the odd knobble here or a bruise there, but including this ‘ugly’ veg in a mixed box format has helped customers save even more money and plan meals for the family for the whole week, ensuring nothing is thrown away, even when it’s taken out of the supermarket aisle.

“We’re extremely excited to be able to bring the wonky veg box to even more people across the UK and in turn, further support our growers to ensure we’re buying as much of their crop as possible.”

“The differences mostly won’t even be noticeable to customers, but the waste saving to our growers will be huge.”