Danish producer saves 75 tonnes of ‘ugly’ tomatoes

Danish producer saves 75 tonnes of 'ugly' tomatoes
Photo: Alfred Pedersen & Søn ApS/Stop Spild Af Mad
Healthy production of tomatoes in Denmark, boosted by this year’s warm summer, has not been allowed to go to waste by a producer in Odense.

Alfred Pedersen & Son, a farm near Denmark’s third city, is one of two producers taking part in an initiative set up earlier this year by NGO Stop Wasting Food (Stop Spild Af Mad) in an effort to cut down wastage by selling irregularly shaped, but otherwise normal produce.

READ ALSO: Danish supermarkets to sell more ugly vegetables

The agreement, which was reached in May with supermarket chains Salling Groups and Rema 1000, enabled vegetables that would otherwise be seen as surplus to be sold at the companies’ stores at discounted prices. 25 øre (3 euro cents) per vegetable sold is donated to Stop Wasting Food under the scheme.

“We have for many years spoken in favour of selling vegetables of this kind in Danish supermarkets. This will help to reduce waste during primary production as well as create growth in the food retail sector. After ten years of debating food waste I am sure that Danish consumers are ready to welcome irregularly shaped vegetables on to supermarket shelves,” Stop Wasting Food's founder Selina Juul said when the scheme was introduced.

Customers have since snapped up the misshapen tomatoes, which have been sold whole and as ‘food waste ketchup’, with a total of 75 tonnes of the produce sold since May, Stop Wasting Food said in a press statement on Tuesday.

100,000 trays of the ‘ugly’ tomatoes, around 50 tonnes, have been sold in that time, along with 25 tonnes of ketchup, according to figures from Alfred Pedersen & Son. Both the tomatoes and ketchup had performed well at stores, the producer’s head of sales Claus Duedal Jakobsen told The Local.

The figures are likely to increase further by the end of the year, with the production season continuing until November, Jakobsen also said.

“Our season continues until the week commencing November 12th and the agreement (with Rema 100 and Salling Groups) continues until the end of the season. So there will be additional kilos, because our production continues right through the season,” he said.

Juul praised the sales success of the scheme and said she hoped to continue and expand it in future production cycles.

“I would love to have even more cooperation between our NGO and the producers,” she told The Local.

Meetings will be held between Stop Wasting Food and partners in the project during the autumn, the NGO founder said.

Jakobsen confirmed he expected a new agreement to be reached with retailers to repeat the scheme next year.

“We certainly want to do that, and we are already engaged in positive dialogue with Rema 1000 and Salling Group over this, so I’m in no doubt that we’re going to continue this next year,” he said.

READ ALSO: Government thinktank to tackle food waste in Denmark