Britain's food waste problem doesn't seem to be going anywhere fast. In recent months, initiatives as diverse as smartphone apps, ale brewed from surplus bread, and zero-waste restaurants have attempted to change our food-chucking habits, with varying levels of success.
But now there's another, more unlikely hero of the food waste scene, hoping to get us to embrace the misshapen vegetables that don't make it onto supermarket shelves. Enter Wonky Mr Potato Head.
The result of a collaboration between British supermarket ASDA and toy manufacturer Hasbro, the misshapen version of the popular Toy Story character was created to promote "ugly" veg and raise money for food waste charity FareShare.
The toy—which looks kinda like Mr Potato Head meets a melting waxwork—was put up for auction on eBay yesterday. The sale ends next Tuesday has already received 36 bids, currently standing at £205.
FareShare corporate development officer Daniel Nicholls said in a statement to MUNCHIES that the charity hope to raise even more, using the money to assist their work redistributing surplus food to homeless centres and food banks.
Nicholls said: "We are very grateful that the proceeds from this Wonky Mr Potato Head auction will enable us to help those charities feed more people, and we'd encourage people to bid big. Every £1 we raise will mean we can provide enough food to make four meals for vulnerable and hungry men, women, and children."
Food waste and the promotion of "ugly veg" has become a hot topic this year. Celebrity chefs including Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall have both highlighted the problem, with Oliver putting the amount of imperfect UK vegetables wasted at around 20 to 40 percent.
Supermarkets are also starting to take note of the problem. ASDA and Tesco have both implemented "wonky veg boxes" in stores, selling ugly veg at discount prices.
However the annual report from Tesco earlier this year showed that the chain's food waste figures were still up from the year before, suggesting that the industry hasn't quite left its veg-binning habits behind.
Andy may have thoughtlessly chucked his toys in Toy Story but we'll never throw you away, Mr Potato Head. No matter how wonky you are.