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Project status/timeline: Published in 2016

Project Author: National Good Food Network

Project Description: Through the Beyond Beauty initiative, JoAnne Berkenkamp at Tomorrow’s Table and The Real Food Challenge explored the potential to develop commercial markets for cosmetically imperfect fruits and vegetables – in particular, collegiate foodservice markets.  Their research in Minnesota included in-depth analysis with fresh-market farmers, fresh-cut processors, produce distributors and leading foodservice management companies.

Their analysis was aimed at clarifying how different players in the supply chain view imperfect produce and triangulating among them to identify the “sweet spots” (and products) where imperfects could potentially work for all players.

Note: This research project was carried out in the United States. The findings may differ from the situation in Canada, but the principles and potential impacts may be transferable.

Excerpt: The Beyond Beauty initiative explored the pos­sibilities for expanding market opportunities for cosmetically imperfect fruits and vegetables. In particular, we have sought to understand how Min­nesota-based fruit and vegetable growers view these products and to assess their feasibility in fresh-cut processing contexts and collegiate foodservice envi­ronments within the state.

Our research included surveys and interviews with fresh-market fruit and vegetable growers, and in­teraction with fresh-cut processors, produce dis­tributors and Aramark, Bon Appétit Management Company and Sodexo through their dining service operations on five college and university campuses in Minnesota. We also gathered related learnings from area foodbanks that handle Minnesota-grown imperfect produce.