b'Examples of so-called ugly produce.PHOTO: BRIAN ROE, OHIO STATE UNIVERSITYto work in our research, two-dimensional setting. In two dimensions, people can pick out whether carrots are ugly pretty quickly, where other crops, like tomatoes, could be tricker.Using discounts from the marketplace where ugly produce wasWe have some data showing that typically being sold, Roe and his team produced a scale to see what prices consumers would be willing to purchase imperfectif you compared a bunch of carrots vegetables at. Typically, these ranged somewhere between 10 towith one out of five imperfectly 40 per cent discounts in comparison to standard produce. shaped and a bunch with two out It was calibrating what kind of prices and promotional elements change their willingness to pay for these products, heof the five carrots were imperfectly says. Uniformity is used as a signal as quality, but naturalnessshaped, there wasnt much difference doesnt always come in perfect uniformity.When it came down to the message, Roe says they worked toin terms of peoples willingness to pay create a message that got across two separate ideas: a social ideathe same amount for both. and a private angle. You really need to emphasize two aspects of imperfectBRIAN ROEproduce that make it potentially desirable to consumers, he says. A social angle, stating If you buy these, its going to be less food wasted, and thats good for society. Then a private angle, which is that these vegetables are just as nutritious and natural. you inform people about how wonderful it is, maybe you can Roe found with these two messages were both included toincrease the tolerance for misshapen carrots to enter into a consumers, they were willing to purchase misfit carrots at abunch that still gets graded.discount than what they would pay in comparison to perfect,We have some data showing that if you compared a bunch of grocery store standard carrots. carrots with one out of five imperfectly shaped and a bunch with Roe says one potential direction to address this issue is totwo out of the five carrots were imperfectly shaped, there wasnt change the national standard. Currently, the national standardmuch difference in terms of peoples willingness to pay the same permits a particular fraction of items to be non-standard in shapeamount for both.or sizetypically around 10 to 20 per cent.Roe says this suggests there could be scope to increase the Another possibility here is just to increase that tolerance fortolerance for imperfect produce before discounting the price.misshapen items by a few percentage points, he says. EvenThey just need graders to get used to allowing a little more if you cant pull off a nationwide marketing campaign wherewiggle room for wiggly carrots, Roe says. 26SPUDSMART.COM Winter 2022'