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Illinois Grocery Stores Go All Out to Reduce Food Waste

Illinois’ grocery stores are now part of an effort to reduce food waste by selling products that might normally get tossed. The Daily Review Atlas is reporting that foods are often give a 30% discount at more than 240 stores there.

“It’s basically produce that’s misshaped or smaller than or bigger than what normally would be set on a shelf,” said Trent Ericson, produce manager at a Hy-Vee in Galesburg, as reported by the paper. “The quality of the products for eating is perfectly fine. It’s not like it’s bruised or damaged or anything, it’s just not as pretty or as perfect a fruit on the shelves for display.”

The story says Hy-Vee has partnered with global produce company Robinson Fresh to offer a line of “Misfits,” or “ugly” produce. And thus far the produce includes apples, avocados, lemons, oranges, cucumbers and clementines, it says.

“They say it’s more affordable and it tastes just as good,” said Duane Fisher, a store manager, as quoted in the Daily Review Atlas.

According to the story, the United Nations estimates 20 to 40 percent of produce harvested each year is thrown away because it does not meet sizing standards for store shelves. It adds that the US Environmental Protection Agency says that reducing food waste by just 15 percent would ease food shortages for 25 millions Americans a year. And, the story concludes that the USDA proclaimed in 2015 its goal was to reduce food waste by 50 percent by the year 2030.

The Illinois grocers also donate food to local food pantries while recycling unusable foods like spoiled produce, it says.

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