Countdown is trialing boxes of odd fruit and vegetables as part of the supermarket’s continued effort to reduce food waste, make fruit and veges more affordable for shoppers and support local growers by buying more produce that would typically go to waste.
The odd bunch programme was first launched in 2016 with Odd Bunch apples. Now the boxes offer a wide range of fruit and veges that most likely wouldn’t have made it to supermarket shelves due to small imperfections or cosmetic damage. Since launching, the programme has had a great response with around 38,400 tonnes of produce sold that could have otherwise ended up as waste.
Customers can expect a range of seasonal produce within their odd boxes, such as potatoes, capsicums, mandarins, and onions. Currently, the boxes are being trialed through Countdown’s eStore in Penrose for customer feedback before rolling out further.
Countdown’s produce merchandise manager, Grant Robinson says now more than ever customers are looking for good value and are embracing the misshaped fresh fare.
“The Odd Bunch was popular right from when we launched it, but this year we’ve really taken it to another level with an increased range such as Odd Bunch avocados, strawberries, and tomatoes.
“Customers really enjoy these weird and wonderful fruits and vegetables knowing that they are helping reduce waste but also more affordable at the same time. The boxes give us an opportunity to trial a broader offer to see where we can help our growers out, but also provide more range to customers.”
Reducing food waste has big potential benefits not only for growers and customers, but for the planet also. Robinson says he hopes the boxes can be rolled out to even more customers in the future, ensuring Countdown is reducing food waste right at the start of the supply chain.
The Odd Bunch programme is one aspect of Countdown’s food reduction efforts. Additionally, all of the supermarket chain’s stores donate rescued food to charities, which sees around 6,200 tonnes of food diverted away from landfill each year and instead used to feed Kiwis in need.