Lidl Great Britain has announced today (Thursday, August 25) that it will start selling fruits and vegetables that may look different to what shoppers are typically used to, in an effort to support farmers through what has been a challenging growing season.

This year, because of the drought conditions experienced in many parts of the country over the summer, a lot of crops have experienced stunted growth, leading to variations in typical selling specifications i.e. size.

According to a study by the University of Edinburgh in 2019, an estimated 4.5 million tonnes of fresh produce is discarded in the UK annually, mainly because it does not meet the supermarkets’ and consumers’ standards of how it should look.

Lidl has taken the decision to now sell this produce in an effort to reduce food waste and support its fruit and vegetable produce suppliers. It has written to all of its British fresh-produce suppliers to inform them of this decision.

Lidl GB CEO Ryan McDonnell is also calling on other supermarkets to follow suit to support the sector.

“Now, more than ever, it’s critical that we and the rest of the sector get behind our suppliers,” he said.

“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.

“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,” he said.

This decision builds on the supermarket’s prior commitment to tackling food waste throughout the supply chain: It has committed to fund and implement 10 whole chain food waste projects by 2025 and has signed the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) Veg Pledge 2016, underlining a commitment to help work in a sustainable way with all growers.

For customers, Lidl GB launched Too Good to Waste boxes in 2019 to help tackle in-store food waste