Compass Group program aims to reduce waste, support farmers

Charlotte-based Compass Group USA and its subsidiary Bon Appétit Management Co. are expanding a program to reduce food waste and support local farmers.

Imperfectly Delicious Produce, the program, aims to reduce the quantity of “ugly” fruits and vegetables discarded every year. The program was piloted in locations in California, Pennsylvania and Washington state last spring, and it’s now being launched in Oregon and Washington, D.C., with plans to expand to the rest of the U.S., too.

Over 10,000 pounds of a variety of fruits and vegetables, “from misshapen carrots and leeks to loose kale leaves,” were recovered during the first few months of the pilot program, the two companies said in a statement Thursday.

“Millions of tons of perfectly edible, wholesome fruits and vegetables get wasted every year because their size, shape, or color don’t exactly match the food industry’s stringent cosmetic standards. Some are left in the fields to rot or get disked under, or are rejected later during processing,” the two companies said.

The program will require engaging distributors and growers, and then determining how to incorporate the program into their existing processes and ordering systems, the two companies said, so launching the initiative nationwide will take some time.

“Creating a new supply chain for a product such as inconsistently sized organic Yukon gold potatoes that no one previously wanted isn’t easy, but it pays dividends in all sorts of ways,” said Christine Seitz, vice president of culinary for Compass Group USA Business Excellence.

The Compass Group USA also made headlines about its sustainability efforts earlier this week when it said it will expand its cage-free egg policy to include liquid eggs.

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