In New Zealand, Supie gives misshapen produce a new life

Before reaching our grocery stores, fruits and vegetables go through a real beauty pageant. What if we could embrace them as they are, regardless of their appearance?

A former accountant in Auckland, Sarah Balle, is launching Supie, an online supermarket that focuses on sustainability and local producers.

Growing up on a vegetable farm, she witnessed first-hand perfectly healthy produce being wasted because of its aspect. So, she spent 18 months travelling the country to talk to producers and realized their main issue was getting access to supermarkets that would sell their produce.

Sarah’s online store aims to act as the only intermediate between growers and consumers while leaving cosmetic considerations out of the equation. Her goal is to educate consumers and create a store where "ugly" fruit and vegetables are the norm.

Why does it matter? The world wastes about 1.3 billion tonnes of food every year, and imperfect produce accounts for around 40% of this total. The food wasted in New Zealand alone could feed a city like Dunedin for almost 3 years. Even though some of this food is being fed to animals or composted and used to fertilize the soil, preventing this waste could go a long way towards food security and economic growth.

Initiatives like Supie can provide consumers with more sustainable options at a similar price to existing players. Let’s focus on the health characteristics of what we eat rather than what it looks like 🙈