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Saving the Ugly Fruit

Updated: Nov 7, 2020

Newsletter #1 - 06/11/20


Every year, the equivalent of 250 million meals are binned by UK food businesses. This 100,000 tonne amount is edible and in-date, yet ends up as waste in landfill. Including household food waste, 25 million tonnes of greenhouse gases are emitted annually, as rotting fruit emits methane.

Motivated by a commitment to reduce food waste, the Ugly Fruit Group is a student-led organisation that redistributes fresh produce to the local community. We focus on fruit and vegetables often left behind by charity food collections due to the more complicated storage of fresh food. This is organised into ripe food that is reaching its best before date and longer-lasting food that can be donated to food banks. The long-lasting fruit is distributed to foodbanks throughout County Durham, where 21,000 children live in poverty (24% of the population) and families struggle with food insecurity; the rest is sorted by our Culinary Team and repurposed into tasty snacks to sell on at our store.

Summarised by our project leader Edmondo: Waste Fights Hunger.


The Ugly Fruit Group Stall

You will find us in store at Unit 44, DH1 4SJ, selling delicious products created by our team. In the past this has involved preservation methods such as creating jams and compotes, as well as tasty snacks like fruit cakes.

“The fruit and veg donations are always a complete surprise!” says Jasmine 'Gordan Ramsey's Nightmare' Ross, who manages the Culinary Team (nickname courtesy of Edmondo)! “Each cooking session is unique and requires a lot of creativity to ensure no fruits or veggies are forgotten. Our products list will be constantly evolving, so come visit our stalls to see what we have on offer!”

Our 'Social Media Guru' Rosie shared her favourite fruity recipe with me: Gado Gado Indonesian Salad, involving roast potatoes, beansprouts, limes, coriander and green beans.

This recipe has been posted to our Instagram page, along with weekly posts on Fruity Friday and lots of green tips on Sustainable Wednesdays. We also have a list of our favourite apps that help you to reduce food waste. Too Good To Go, one of Rosie’s favourites, is an app that lets you pick up good food from local cafés and restaurants, at a much cheaper price. This pre-prepared food would meet its sell-by date on the day it is given out and would otherwise be binned.

She says: “I love how the ‘Magic Bag’ concept introduces a little creativity when it comes to cooking whilst also connecting you to your local community.”

Food Bank Donations

On average, food banks provide less than 50% of the recommended levels of vitamins A, C, D and E - which is where we come in. Our Store Manager 'Problem Solver' Liz organises collections and relations with food banks to ensure that fruit is redistributed in efficient and helpful ways. Over the past year, we have rescued 415kg of unsold fruit and veg from local businesses. Of this, we have donated 125 produce boxes to food banks in Durham, equating to 1,125 meals!

Culinary Manager Jasmine reflected on the importance of fruit and veg donations at food banks, “As the reliance on food banks is growing in the UK, it is increasingly important that these facilities are able to meet the nutritional requirements of these people in need. Our donations of fresh fruit and vegetables have helped hundreds of people to incorporate nutritional food into their diets.”


Get involved

With the social and economic challenges facing many families as we face a second lockdown, we are looking to broaden our scope to include more food bank donations to reach more members of the community. Our team is expanding and we are currently recruiting for a Transportation Manager, Transport Executive and Finance Officer. Follow the link below to the application form, which closes on 8th November:

Our stall reopens on Sunday 8th from 11:00-17:00, with new measures in place to ensure the shop is safe for you to use. If you’re still looking for some inspiration on why to get involved in community-focused projects, Liz recommends watching ‘Growing up poor: Britain’s Breadline Kids’ or reading ‘Down and Out in Paris in London’.

Do visit our Volunteer pages, follow us on Facebook and Instagram or get in contact if you'd like more information!



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