Breaking the Myth of Ugly Food: Is it Really Bad for Our Health?

About 1.3 billion tons of food is wasted worldwide every year. In this number, fruits and vegetables contributed the highest waste of all types of food. Our inability to live peacefully with Ugly Food is one of the reasons why this is still the case.

When we shop for fruit or vegetables, who doesn’t love to see apples that are red, shiny, and perfectly shaped? We must immediately think that the apple has a good taste and good nutrition.

But does this legitimize that we should always buy the perfect apple and avoid apples that are uneven in color, different in shape, and tend to be smaller in size?

Ugly Food Fruitnet

Is Ugly Food Actually Bad For Us?

However, is Ugly Food really that bad for us to eat? Another thing that makes people tend to avoid Ugly Food is due to doubts and ignorance about the impact of Ugly Food consumption. Because we always start from the perspective of good and bad, we also tend to assume that fruits and vegetables that look less good have less good nutritional content as well.

However, is the assumption that we fear is true? Referring to Rachel Beller, a nutritionist in Los Angeles, United States, Ugly Food is not dangerous to eat as long as the vegetables and fruits are fresh and not rotten.

In addition, the results of a study from Cornell University by a professor of horticulture, Marvis Pritts, revealed that there are at least three main causes of abnormalities in fruits and vegetables.

The first cause is due to an imperfect pollination process, so the fruit is not completely pollinated and causes deformities around the fruit seeds. The second cause is the result of frozen dew. So that it can kill the development of some parts of the flower and make the fruit a slightly different shape.

The third common cause is the result of insects eating the young fruiting body parts so that the mature fruit becomes asymmetrical. In addition, other causes are also possible, such as plant viruses (which are not contagious to humans), or mineral deficiencies in the soil.

Pritts further explained that the overall causal factors will not have much effect on humans. None of these causative factors were found to cause health problems for people.

How to Cook Ugly Food to be More Favorable

As long as the processing is correct, the nutrients and nutrients in Ugly Food can still provide good benefits for the body. The tips for consuming Ugly Food is to make sure that we have washed it clean.

If there is a part of the fruit or vegetable that is too ripe and we don’t like it, we can cut the part to get rid of it and then consume other parts that we want. Vegetable processing has an important role in the defense of nutrients in it. 

For example, when boiled carrots can increase the content of carotenoids such as beta carotene than consuming them raw as a salad. However, if the carrots are steamed, the Vitamin C content in them will decrease while the phenolic acid content will increase.

The thing that needs to be understood about the nutritional content of fruits and vegetables, is that when the vegetables or fruit are separated from the stems, some of the nutritional content has been reduced. Because the supply of nutrients from vegetables and fruit is derived from plants or trees. However, this lack of nutrients does not mean that these vegetables and fruits have no nutrition at all and it does not mean that they are not suitable for consumption.

So, consuming Ugly Food is actually as good as consuming vegetable and fruit products with better colors, sizes, and shapes.

Read Indonesian version.


Angie Lo, “Food Waste: The Psychology of Ugly Produce”, 

Bahar Gholipur, “The Psychological Reason Why We Hate Ugly Food”,, “Ugly Food Is Hot: Why You Shouldn’t Throw Out Imperfect Produce”, 

Miriam C. Dobson dan Jill L Edmondson, “Ugly vegetables are a major cause of food waste”, 

Waste4Change, “Berdamai dengan Ugly Food untuk Kurangi Sampah Makanan”, 

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