Countdown launches another initiative to curb food waste, provide cheaper fruit and vege

Countdown is trialling selling boxes of mixed fruit and vegetables that previously wouldn't have been pretty enough to make it to shelves in an initiative to curb food waste and make produce more affordable.

A file image of fresh produce in a supermarket. Source: 1 NEWS

The supermarket's Odd Bunch programme was first launched in 2017, back then just stocking apples, but has since grown to include a wider range of produce. The latest initiative builds off that, with the mixed boxes.

Fruit and vegetables with small imperfections or cosmetic damage are sold at a reduced price.

Countdown said about 38,400 tonnes of produce has been sold that would have otherwise been wasted.

Now, boxes are being trialled through Coundown’s eStore in Penrose to gauge customer feedback before rolling out further.

Grant Robinson, Countdown’s produce merchandise manager, said more than ever customers are looking for good value.

"Kiwis are embracing the adage that you can’t judge a book by its cover. The Odd Bunch was popular right from when we launched it, but this year we’ve really taken it to another level with an increased range such as Odd Bunch avocados, strawberries and tomatoes," he said.

"Customers really enjoy these weird and wonderful fruits and vegetables knowing that they are helping reduce waste but also more affordable at the same time. 

"Reducing food waste right from the start of production has some really big potential benefits, both for our customers and growers, but also the planet. Hopefully we can roll these out to even more customers in future and ensure we’re reducing food waste right at the start of the supply chain."

Countdown stores also donate rescued food to charities, with around 6200 tonnes of food diverted away from landfill each year and instead used to feed Kiwis in need.