Fruit and vegetable prices in Australia are soaring due to supply chain and climate issues – yet supermarkets continue to reject produce based on looks alone, says the founder of food rescue business Good & Fugly, Richard Torino.
Good & Fugly was launched two years ago as a social enterprise to collect produce that would otherwise go to waste, selling it directly to consumers, usually on a subscription basis. Tourino estimates that 25 per cent of crops go to waste on farms because while they are perfectly nutritious and fresh – they do not meet high appearance standards set by retailers.
This month, a crowd-funding campaign was launched through Birchal “to allow everyday Aussies, who have a true passion for the environment and Australia’s food waste issue, to get on board,” explains Tourino.
“Together, we can fundamentally change the way Australians buy and eat their fruit and veg.”
The money raised will be used as capital to scale, and fund the company’s national rollout.
“We want to connect with more farmers, save more produce, and give more consumers across Australia the opportunity to purchase deliciously fugly fruit and veg,” said Tourino.
During the past two years, Good & Fugly has delivered more than 200,000kg of fruit and vegetables and gathered 2000 regular consumer subscribers. Now the company is eyeing covering all of Greater Sydney and in a new partnership will donate excess produce to OzHarvest, which helps feed vulnerable people in the community. This year, OzHarvest generated more than $1 million in sales.
“Everyone loses when good fruit and veg goes to waste,” says Victorian farmer Paul Milano, who partnered with Good & Fugly. “Last year, on our farm alone, 50 tonnes had to be thrown away and this kind of thing is being duplicated across Australia. With Good & Fugly’s rescue hotline, I’m able to give them a call during oversupply emergencies and promptly work out a win-win solution, depending on the type of produce.
“Good & Fugly gives our delicious fruit and veg the kind of home it deserves,” says Milano
Another farmer partner, Aidan Quick of Home Stand Produce in the Tweed Valley, adds: “If the food goes to waste, you’ve wasted the water, you’ve wasted the soil, the land, your time. The good thing about working with Good & Fugly is that they’ll take smaller sizes that the market otherwise won’t want.”