14 Apr 2021

Cheaper "ugly" food, direct from grower to table

From Nine To Noon, 9:23 am on 14 April 2021

Supie is a new online marketplace hooking people up directly with those who grow, bake, farm and catch our food.

By scrapping the supermarket model, Supie will allow Kiwi growers and food producers to access New Zealand consumers directly, founder Sarah Balle tells Kathryn Ryan.

Trendy ugly organic vegetables. Assortment of fresh pepper, eggplant, cucumber, tomato, pumpkin. Cooking ugly food concept. Stone concrete background, copy space

Photo: 123RF

Cutting out the middle person results not only in cheaper food but less waste - especially if you don't mind what your produce looks like, Balle says.

After growing up on a Pukekohe vegetable farm, she was shocked to discover the amount of fresh fruit and vegetables that are wasted because they're not pretty enough.

Traditional supermarkets often reject produce that doesn't meet cosmetic standards, such as potatoes that aren't round enough or asparagus spears that are too short, she says.

To help counter this aesthetically driven food waste, Supie will offer two levels of produce - Grade A, export-quality stuff and another set of fruit and vegetables which are "100 percent edible and just a centimetre too short or too fat or too skinny". This produce will be up to a dollar a kilo cheaper, Balle says.

Supie memberships for people in Auckland are available from next month with other centres to follow.