Coles flawed-but-adored produce saves money and reduces waste

New “I’m Perfect” range celebrates produce of all shapes and sizes

Coles has taken a positive approach to fruit and veggies previously considered unattractive, launching a new range of flawed-but-adored produce under the banner of I’m Perfect.

Coles General Manager of Produce, Brad Gorman, said the initiative was one way that Coles was working with suppliers to reduce food waste.

“Our customers know that regardless of shape, size or any small cosmetic blemishes, Coles produce is fresh and bursting with flavour,” he said.

“So when we were thinking how to package produce that looked a little less than perfect, we thought we’d celebrate the fact that great-tasting fruit and veggies come in all shapes and sizes.

“The I’m Perfect range will introduce our customers to millions of pieces of fruit and veg that they may otherwise never have met.”

Coles I’m Perfect range is being trialled in Victoria and South Australia and has been well received by suppliers, such as Adelaide Hills apple grower, Tony Ceravolo.

“All of our fruit is grown outdoors and exposed to the elements and while we do our best to minimise weather impacts, inevitably Mother Nature sometimes proves too strong for us,” said Tony.

“For two years running the Ceravolo Orchards were hit by a devastating hailstorm, damaging up to 90 per cent of their harvest. With far less premium grade fruit for us to sell and an abundance of fruit with minor to major defects, Coles really got behind the Hailstorm Hero’s campaign and helped us recoup some of our costs by encouraging people to by perfectly good fruit that was a little freckly on the outside.

“And today, Coles is doing the same by encouraging people to buy our apples that are a little flawed on the outside, but with the same crunch and taste that’s adored by their customers. It’s win-win-win – a win for customers, a win for us, and a win for reducing food waste.”

The I’m Perfect range builds on significant success that Coles and their suppliers have already achieved in reducing food waste.

“We have previously worked with our suppliers to reduce their food waste by redirecting produce that doesn’t look the best to other value-added products such as Coles Own Brand zucchini noodles, sweet potato noodles, sweet potato chips and broccoli and cauliflower rice,” said Mr Gorman.

Coles’ efforts to reduce food waste extend beyond the fruit and vegetable aisles, with a range of Coles Brand banana products, including frozen banana pieces, banana bread and muffins, all made using bananas that might otherwise have gone unsold.

“All of these products help reduce food waste and increase overall crop yields by utilising vegetable pieces that typically would not be sold at retail level,” said Mr Gorman.

In addition to reducing food waste at the point of production, Coles also has a national partnership with food waste charity SecondBite. Through this partnership Coles supermarkets has donated more than 36 million kilograms of unsold edible food, equating to 72 million meals, between 2011 and 30 November 2018.

Between 2010 and 30 June 2018, Coles supermarkets also donated the equivalent of more than 17 million meals to Foodbank, another charity focused on redirecting unsold food to those in need.

Some organic waste from supermarkets that cannot be directed to food rescue is also sent to anaerobic digestion plants in Western Australia and New South Wales, where it is converted into clean energy and certified compost.

The Coles range of “I’m Perfect” fruit and vegetables is available in Victorian and South Australian stores. The range includes:

· Apples (2kg)

· Pears (2kg)

· Oranges (3kg)

· Lemons (1kg)

· Onions (2kg)

· Carrots (2.5kg)

· Sweet Potatoes (2kg)

/Public Release.