Some fruit growers in South Africa will cheer the increasing trend towards ‘wonkiness’ and ‘imperfectness’ when it comes to the offer that is presented to the consumer.

Recently Fredo wrote about the Dutch getting into Snozzcucumbers and Wonky Veg. Now statements from Tesco about Perfectly Imperfect wonky pears are following this trend. For decades supermarkets have been telling fruit growers that they only want to put the nicest and most beautifully coloured fruit on their shelves. Certain fruits lean themselves to this – the perfectly coloured and shaped apple or the most beautiful bunch of grapes – that is what the super markets told fruit growers what they should grow.

[divider]berries-103This seems to be changing fairly quickly, with one of Britain’s leading super markets adding pears into its Perfectly Imperfect wonky produce tier. The impact is expected to be dramatic, with one of their British growers expected to supply them with an additional 200 tons of pears which otherwise would probably have been sold elsewhere at much lower prices.

The question is whether this is only going to be a British thing and whether South African growers can also expect to share in the ‘wonkiness’?

We know that the ‘wonky’ and ‘imperfect’ fruit often comes from the same tree, having been grown with the same love and care. You do not love your one child less because he or she is ‘wonky’ so why should the tree discriminate?

[divider]img_8166Tesco topfruit specialist John Worth is reported as saying that by using smaller or misshapen pears the retailer created a bag of pears using previously rejected fruit. “They taste great, and are great value – they might just look a bit ugly.”

It is not only pears that are going ‘wonky’ in Tesco’s. Worth said Tesco now takes 97 per cent of apples from Tesco-dedicated growers, with the other three per cent going for juicing.

“This enables more of our growers to get a premium price for their produce, and helps reduce food waste. It’s a win-win situation for all,” he added.

And then he follows up with: “As long as the fruit delivers the quality that our customers are asking for, I can now be flexible on size and shape. It’s all about being in the fields, tasting, talking and monitoring,” Worth said.

[divider]img_7664Will these ‘wonky’ concepts also transpire across the ocean to South African shores, or will we continue to see buyers and technical people from retailers arriving on their farms with their long lists of demands for the fruit to be delivered to them? And when the fruit gets there and there is only something tiny wrong with it, will the likes of Tesco also include them in the ‘wonky project’? Or just continue to tell the grower that he must remove the fruit and sell it somewhere else – all at the grower’s cost?