If aesthetically unappealing produce tastes just as good as the pretty stuff, is a strange-looking Mr. Potato Head still just as much fun to play with? Hasbro thinks so. The company partnered with UK grocery chain ASDA to design a misshapen version of our favorite toy tuber. The so-named Wonky Mr. Potato Head is a one-off creation, being auctioned off on eBay for charity (for UK bidders only), but his real purpose is to illustrate that funny looking fruits and veggies are just as good as the others.
Oddly shaped, differently colored, or even slightly blemished produce gets a bad rap in first world countries, where people think its okay to throw away food that doesn’t meet their high aesthetic standards. But, as it turns out, Mother Nature doesn’t create all fruits and vegetables equally — and oftentimes ‘wonky’ produce is just as nutritious and tasty as its more attractive counterparts. Food waste is a huge problem on a global scale—in fact, estimates suggest one-third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year is lost or wasted. That amounts to approximately 1.3 billion tons annually.
It’s unknown what portion of food waste is composed of ‘wonky’ or less attractive produce, but it’s easy to imagine that it’s substantial. After all, grocery stores frequently pull produce from the sales bins before it’s even ripe, because consumers have become accustomed to buying fruits and veggies within a certain narrow window of ripeness. Granted, some supermarket chains have partnered with community organizations to funnel that produce into programs that feed people in need, but much of it ends up in the dumpster, and then in a landfill or compost, never to fulfill its destiny to nourish hungry bodies.
Mr. Potato Head is the perfect spokesperson for this veggie-saving campaign, seeing as how he is, well, you know, one of them.
Images via Hasbro UK