Why ‘ugly’ produce may be more nutritious

Organic, scarred fruits and vegetables are found to have higher antioxidants, studies show.

Published in FSD Update

Dana Moran, Managing Editor

wormy apples

‘Ugly’ produce may have benefits beyond food waste reduction

In a culture that prizes perfect Instagram food photos, knobby carrots and blemished apples are gaining more acceptance as a way of reducing waste. In April, Whole Foods announced a test run of so-called “ugly” produce in some Northern California stores, and Giant Eagle is doing the same in five Pittsburgh-area stores, NPR’s The Salt Blog reports.

While this produce usually comes at a lower cost, it also may pack higher levels of antioxidants, NPR reports. Plants produce antioxidants as defense mechanisms against pests or infections; bumps and pockmarks are signs that a fruit or vegetable was extra-healthy enough to survive.

What it means for operators: Sourcing blemished produce may come with an even greater benefit to diners. Whether it translates to an “ugly is healthy” marketing campaign or is just a greater incentive to purchase local, organic produce at an aesthetic price discount, a partnership with ugly produce can be a win across the board.

Is micro-thin silk coating the plastic wrap of the future?

Leaving uncovered strawberries at room temperature for too long usually is a recipe for rotten, mushy fruit. But biomedical engineers at Tufts University in Medford, Mass., have developed a new method for food preservation that might eventually eliminate the need for plastic wrap, the UK’s Independent reports. Produce dipped in or sprayed with a thin coating of fibroin, a natural protein found in silk, stayed fresh for at least a week, scientists found.

What it means for operators: Foodservice locations will create less waste—both plastic and food-related. It will be interesting to see whether diners have a mental block when it comes to eating the silk coating, which is produced by the worms of moths. The concept might be unappealing, but so are plenty of ingredients in our favorite processed foods.

The top states for solar panel incentives—ranked

If you’re an operator in sunny states like California or Arizona, the idea of installing solar panels probably is already on your radar. But data analyzed by modernize.com reveals that Oregon, Maryland, Massachusetts and Minnesota also are among the top 10 states that offer incentives for solar panels.

What it means for operators: While Congress recently extended the 30 percent federal tax credit for businesses that invest in solar energy through the end of 2019, there also are state rebates and credits to be had. Researching the best type of technology for your needs is important; photovoltaic panels convert the sun’s energy into electricity, while solar thermal panels turn energy into heat using water. Both technologies can be used in any climate.

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