|Less Aesthetic Produce Can Help Cut CO2|
|Sunday, 15 July 2012 10:00 | Written by Dawn Marshallsay | Blog Entry|
For many years European shoppers have been spoiled by strict rules governing the shape and size of their fruit and vegetables. Now that the European Union (EU) for environmental reasons has repealed the standards it imposed on 26 varieties (see list below), will consumers find a place in their stomachs for the misshapen produce hitting the shelves? How about you and your children?
Though marketing standards will continue to govern another 10 varieties that make up 75% of the EU fruit and vegetable trade, misshapen specimens can now be sold, as long as they carry reduced prices and labels the equivalent of ‘product intended for processing,’ i.e., ‘for cooking purposes only.’
The Beauty of the Decision
But will we, as consumers, be accepting of the less-than aesthetic, even though just as healthy? We’re so used to identical factory-made food that the unpredictability of fruit and veggies makes us uneasy; talk about judging a book by its cover! Are we still going to play it safe and choose the straight cucumber over the bended one?
Dealing with Fussy Eaters
The fail-proof option is positioning the food to make a smiley face. If it looks happy… well, you know what they say about smiles spreading. When the smiles fail, it’s time to take some tips from a food artist.
To encourage his son to eat greens, Mark Northeast, from Littlehampton in the UK, turned the boy’s sandwich into space rocket. This proved so successful that Mark made 30 more sandwich artworks, in the shape of everything from Spongebob Squarepants to Hello Kitty, which can be viewed online. He's also published a book entitled Funky Lunch: Happy Food for Happy Children. It features 50 of his best sandwich ideas and provides other tips for parents who want their kids to eat healthier.
Now something for the adults. If you’ve got fussy partners who get colds and pass them to you, all because they don’t eat their greens, they obviously haven’t received a Violent Veg birthday card. This UK card company utilizes fruit and vegetable anomalies by giving them faces and limbs in modeling clay, and adds wordplay captions such as, “The best thing about Eddie's new job was the huge celery.”
The Violent Veg produce actually protest at being eaten, but meat-eaters are used to eating food that once had feelings, and vegetarians should see the funny side. While serving up vegetables covered in modeling clay would put anyone off veggies for life, the Violent Veg antics should make fussy eaters realize how harmless fruit and vegetables are (except, of course, the violent ones…).
The Fruits and Vegetables Affected
The following 10 products are still affected by marketing standards, but can now be sold at a discount for cooking purposes (or equivalent) only: apples, citrus fruit, kiwi fruit, lettuces, peaches, nectarines, pears, strawberries, sweet peppers, table grapes and tomatoes.
The EU's decision to allow Mother Nature's homelier fruits and vegetables a place at the table is laudable. It makes no sense to waste these less aesthetic, but otherwise tasty and nutritious crops once they already have a carbon footprint. Every little bit helps when it comes to cutting CO2 emissions, lessening global warming and staving off climate change. And the fact that the decision will help the organics market (read less chemical fertilizers and pesticides polluting the planet) and make vegetables cheaper, so that we are all encouraged to eat more, is wonderful for our health and that of the Earth.
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