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Smaller vegetables against food waste

Does this sound familiar? You have a cucumber that you only used half of, or you buy a whole head of broccoli when you just need a few florets. A few days later you discover the leftovers in the vegetable drawer. Such a waste, right? If Dutch grower, Adri Jonkers, has anything to do with it, this problem is a thing of the past. His idea, smaller vegetables for smaller households, was launched in June at the Dutch retailer Jumbo under the name 'Little & Fresh'.

Less food waste

The number of smaller households is steadily increasing yet there are many items in the supermarket that still cater to larger households. Not such an issue when it comes to dry goods, but with fresh produce it is a bit trickier. A large cauliflower is often too much for a one or two-person household and many of us don't want to eat the same thing two days running. So, often the leftover cauliflower ends up in the compost or the green bin.

‘Little & Fresh’ helps us reduce food waste with smaller vegetables and with very little packaging - a more sustainable approach.

How are smaller vegetables cultivated?

Maybe you’re wondering how smaller vegetables are grown? That depends on the vegetable. Some, such as cucumbers, have varieties specially developed to produce smaller and more convenient sizes. Others, like fennel or broccoli, two factors are involved: firstly, the grower can plant the seeds or seedlings closer together so that they have less space to grow and secondly, so the plants do not crowd each other out, the grower needs to choose the right seeds. In some crops like zucchini, the grower simply harvests them earlier.

These small vegetables, grown locally by eight growers, have a whole history before they even hit the supermarket shelf. Prior research was carried out to be sure that the customers want smaller vegetables. Luckily they were positive about the concept.

Where can you find 'Little & Fresh'?

You’ll find a shelf displaying smaller vegetables – without packaging and mainly organic – at the Jumbo Food Market in Leidschendam In The Netherland. It’s filled with cucumber, capsicum (sweet pepper), broccoli, zucchini, and fennel to name a few. The intention is that more stores will follow next year in the new season.

Little & Fresh is a joint initiative of a group of organic growers, The Greenery (international sales organisation), and Rijk Zwaan (plant breeding company).

Smaller vegetables against food waste

Salad story by

Annelies Blaauwkamer

Annelies Blaauwkamer

Community organisation

So many variations are possible with salads, vegetables and dressings, so I never get bored eating them! Every season has it's own produce that can be used to prepare a new salad.
Once in a... Read more

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