Study Explores Consumer Acceptance of ‘Ugly’ Produce

The Ohio State University published results of a study that examined consumer willingness to purchase cosmetically imperfect produce. The study showed that consumers in a farmers market setting would purchase carrot bundles that contained up to 40% misshapen carrots, if they were accompanied by explanations of both their health equivalence and that using them prevents food waste. This research focused on winning consumer acceptance of imperfect produce without discounting it, a strategy that undermines the food value chain. Although consumer willingness to pay was lower when any imperfect carrots were included in a bunch, consumer acceptance increased with education. This study helped analyze the price point that would make harvesting “ugly” produce profitable for farmers.