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A story of Ugly Fruit and Vegetables

Did you know that roughly 20% to 40% of fruit and vegetables in the UK, get discarded before they reach supermarkets because of their ‘ugly’ appearance? Yet, they are perfectly nutritious and tasty to eat despite their aesthetic imperfections!  Determined to make a difference and change the stigma around wonky fruit and vegetables, The Ugly Fruit Group was created.

We are an Enactus project. Enactus Durham is a student-led organisation that provides the opportunity for you to engage in real-world projects, both locally and internationally. Their projects empower people to improve their own lives and others in their communities through sustainable innovation. Through the Ugly Fruit Group, we aim to inspire people in the Durham City and Hartlepool area to reduce food waste. We work to address three of the United Nations’ Sustainable Developments Goals, namely, to encourage sustainable consumption, eliminate food insecurity and promote a healthier lifestyle, particularly among students.

How do we do this?

Currently, we’re collecting fruit and vegetables that would have been destined for the bin, from big suppliers such as Tesco, Aldi and Holland (the supplier of Durham University). Out of our weekly collection, we turn the overly ripe fruit and vegetables into nutritious snacks for our stall on Durham University campus. Wonky apples, brown bananas and past-their-date cabbages are turned into tasty apple chips, flavoursome banana bread and colourful kimchi! We also produce citrus compote, satsuma marmalade, banana chips and apple compote. These delicious snacks, for which we ask a minimum donation, help us increase the visibility of our project and raise awareness of avoidable waste.

Our first stall selling goodies on the 31st of January 2020

The perfectly ripe fruits and vegetables are donated to Hartlepool Food Bank to supplement the offering of emergency food supplies for those facing food insecurity with fresh, healthy produce. In supplement to this, with the donations from the sale of fruit snacks, we aspire to organise and run cooking workshops, competitions and coffee mornings in support of the food bank and its users. We aim to affect social change amongst families in deprived communities with a particular focus on families with small children.

Other projects we have in mind is to run a regular stall in Durham city, market our products to local shops and ensure we are 100% zero waste by recycling any fruit and vegetable remains (like apple cores) to allotments.

Come and meet us

We have two upcoming stalls at the DSU Eco-Festival, Saturday 8 February, and DUSVO Soul night, Saturday 15 February. We’d love to meet you, have a try of our products as well as tell you more about our ugly fruit and vegetable adventures!

Like and follow us on Facebook and Instagram, to stay up to date and fill your diary with exciting events!

In the meantime, we’ll continue developing our project and bobbing along to a fruit and vegetable playlist on Spotify… probably, on our way to the Billy B.

Elisabetta Sakiotis

I am a fourth-year Philosophy, Politics and Economics student from St. Aidan’s College. I joined The Ugly Fruit Group this year, after coming back from a year abroad. I enjoy traveling, reading and being engaged in Durham University’s student community.
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