British shoppers share ‘wonky’ fruit and veg as supermarkets announce they will sell stunted produce


Brits have been showing off their misshapen fruit and vegetables just a day after leading supermarkets announced they would sell ‘wonky’ produce to support drought-hit harvests and prevent food waste.

Have you seen any wonky fruit or veg?

Email: tom.pyman@mailonline.co.uk

Hundreds of people took to Twitter to share their pictures of their disfigured finds – including crooked carrots, twisted turnips and peculiarly-shaped parsnips.

Homegrown farmers have seen their crops devastated by the recent blast of warm and dry weather – leading to an influx of smaller potatoes, apples, onions, Brussels sprouts and carrots.

Experts warned recently that produce will be smaller and not meet usual standards for food on supermarket shelves as a result of the recent drought. 

Lidl and Waitrose yesterday announced they would start selling ‘stunted’ produce which has been severely affected by a record-breaking summer of heat and national drought. 

The discount supermarket chain confirmed it had written to its British fresh produce suppliers in the face of the record heat and the driest summer for half a century to ask how it could help. 

It comes days after the National Farmers’ Union issued a rallying cry urging more support for Britain’s beleaguered growers in light of the recent weather conditions. 

Brits have been showing off their misshapen fruit and vegetables just a day after leading supermarkets announced they would sell 'wonky' produce to support drought-hit harvests and prevent food waste

Brits have been showing off their misshapen fruit and vegetables just a day after leading supermarkets announced they would sell ‘wonky’ produce to support drought-hit harvests and prevent food waste

A picture of a 'wonky' carrot shared by one member of the public today

A picture of a ‘wonky’ carrot shared by one member of the public today

Homegrown farmers have seen their crops devastated by the recent blast of warm and dry weather - leading to an influx of smaller potatoes, apples, onions, Brussels sprouts and carrots

Homegrown farmers have seen their crops devastated by the recent blast of warm and dry weather – leading to an influx of smaller potatoes, apples, onions, Brussels sprouts and carrots

Dishevelled fruit and vegetables will soon be sold on the shelves of some of Britain's leading supermarkets

Dishevelled fruit and vegetables will soon be sold on the shelves of some of Britain’s leading supermarkets

Hundreds of people took to Twitter to share their pictures of their disfigured finds - including crooked carrots, twisted turnips and peculiarly-shaped parsnips

Hundreds of people took to Twitter to share their pictures of their disfigured finds – including crooked carrots, twisted turnips and peculiarly-shaped parsnips

Experts warned recently that produce will be smaller and not meet usual standards for food on supermarket shelves as a result of the recent drought

Experts warned recently that produce will be smaller and not meet usual standards for food on supermarket shelves as a result of the recent drought

Lidl GB’s chief executive Ryan McDonnell called on other supermarkets to follow its lead.

Mr McDonnell added: ‘Farmers across the country are facing a big challenge this year due to the extreme weather conditions experienced over the summer months.

‘Whilst the crop coming out may look and feel a bit different to what we’re all used to, it’s still the same great British quality.

‘We therefore want to show support for our suppliers by working with them to find solutions to help.’

He said the company has always tried to work with suppliers to be flexible with variations in specifications at different times of the year, but said that now more than ever it is ‘critical’ that Lidl and the rest of the sector get behind farmers.

He added: ‘That’s why we have written to all of our British fresh produce suppliers and I would urge other supermarkets to do the same, so that together we can ensure that perfectly good produce isn’t going to waste.’

Waitrose says it will also divert millions of units of wonky carrots and other misshapen vegetables into its own label soups, ready meals, smoothies – ensuring that no food that’s good to eat is wasted.

Paul Bidwell, Fresh Produce Buyer at Waitrose, said: ‘Our Little Less Than Perfect range is nothing new – we’ve done it for years, but we constantly look at ways we can support our farmers through challenging conditions and often that means altering our specifications.

Lidl GB's chief executive Ryan McDonnell called on other supermarkets to follow suit

Lidl GB’s chief executive Ryan McDonnell called on other supermarkets to follow suit

Waitrose also announced it will relax size and shape guidelines for new season potatoes, carrots, strawberries, apples, pears and peppers

Waitrose also announced it will relax size and shape guidelines for new season potatoes, carrots, strawberries, apples, pears and peppers

‘Many of our UK suppliers have managed through the drought thanks to back up water supplies from reservoirs or rain water capture systems so we’ve focused our efforts on those that need the most help.

‘What’s in store may look a bit different at times but it will always represent the same great quality, taste and high standards our customers are used to.’

Apples and Brussels sprouts are thought to be likely to be worst affected alongside staples such as potatoes, carrots and onions. 

But the impact is expected to be felt across almost all produce, with the growth of broccoli and cauliflower also being hit by dry conditions.

A wonky carrot

A wonky tomato

Lidl says it will sell ‘stunted’ fruit and vegetables affected by the drought to support farmers and ensure food does not go to waste

The discount supermarket chain said it wrote to its British fresh produce suppliers in the face of the record heat and the driest summer for half a century to ask how it could help

The discount supermarket chain said it wrote to its British fresh produce suppliers in the face of the record heat and the driest summer for half a century to ask how it could help

Where possible, it will now accommodate products hit by the drought, including those which are a different size than shoppers are used to

The National Farmers Union (NFU) has led a campaign to get supermarkets to accept more ‘wonky’ vegetables which they say ‘may not look normal, but will taste the same’.

Despite supermarkets increasingly accepting the ‘wonky’ produce, some crops have been left inedible, with the National Drought Group estimating that items including onions, carrots and potatoes will see failure rates of up to 50%.

Meanwhile, other farmers have resorted to giving away their crops to stop them from gong to waste.  

Tim Young, who is based in Hockwold, Norfolk, is giving away more than 140,000 onions after summer heatwave damaged 40 per cent of his crops. 

He managed to successfully harvest around 280 tonnes of healthy set onions earlier this month after planting them in January.

But downy mildew combined with soaring temperatures led part of his remaining crop on a two acre area to become infected with fusarium rot – a type of fungus which causes the produce to internally rot.

The last time the UK experienced a severe drought was in 2018 when crops, grass, and feed and livestock were impacted and led to inflated prices at the supermarkets.

At the same time grocery prices are going up a record ten per cent compared with 2021, according to research.



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