2021 is the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables, which aims to raise awareness on the nutritional and health benefits of fruit and vegetable consumption. Unfortunately, of the total amount of food that is produced globally for human consumption, roughly one-third of the world’s edible fruits and vegetables are removed from the food supply chain every year to be disposed of and wasted (FAO, 2019; de Hooge et al., 2018, p. 698). Unfortunately, consumers tend to feel that the quality of fruits is associated with their appearance. If the fruits are not the right size, shape, or color, they tend to either throw them away or not buy them, and that’s how a lot of waste is created. These “ugly” fruits and vegetables still have the same nutritional value. They taste the same but are discarded due to poor looks and abnormal appearance. Our current fruit and vegetable supply chains are linear and, many of the problems that we must deal with today are often the direct result of the “take, make, use and dispose” system that characterize these chains and result in high levels of food loss and waste. So clearly, there is the need to SEE things differently. And this is achievable only through education and awareness-raising, particularly among those in the supply chain, and especially retailers that directly come into contact with consumers.
The mission of the project is to train VET trainers on how to utilize the innovative training model
produced to train professionals in the food supply chain on the role they can play in the reduction of “ugly” fruits and vegetable waste and their contribution to awareness-raising of consumers in sustainable consumption. This project aims for the development of an innovative educational program for VET trainers involved in the training of professionals involved in the food supply chain, to (i) give them knowledge and awareness on the importance of keeping these produce in the economy in the frames of food waste reduction, (ii) the significant role they can play in the “ugly” fruits and vegetable waste reduction in the frames of sustainable production and consumption, and (iii) become “ambassadors” to consumers by increasing their awareness of the importance of “ugly” fruits and vegetable waste reduction in the frames of sustainable consumption.