When it comes to produce, size matters.
Every year, American grocers toss approximately 26 percent of perfectly good U.S.-grown produce—simply because it doesn’t conform to certain aesthetic ideals. Most grocers don’t bother even trying to sell fruits and vegetables that have cosmetic imperfections like bruises and lumps. According to Ben Simon at Imperfect, a delivery service that sells ugly produce, size, especially, is a factor in determining marketability: “Size is the number one factor leading to grocer-rejected 'ugly' produce,” he says.
The consequence is that Americans are trashing billions of pounds of produce each year, often purely because it’s a little on the small (or large) size. But as any small fruit producer will tell you, bigger isn’t always better. And the environmental impact of such widespread waste is huge: Approximately 80 percent of the country’s fresh water is used to support our agriculture system, which is primarily employed with growing our food. Additionally, when you factor in the energy that's used growing, packing and transporting our food, 33 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in this country can be attributed to the food system.