As Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's War on Waste programme launches tonight (2 November) on BBC One, Vacherin has introduced its own initiative to champion imperfect-looking produce.
The TV chef's new series will call on supermarkets to relax their strict cosmetic standards, which can see 40% of farmers' crops left to rot if they do not look aesthetically pleasing.
Vacherin, which recently won the CSR Award at the Foodservice Cateys, said the industry should do more to reduce this avoidable produce waste.
The firm has launched its I'mperfect initiative after working closely with suppliers to source imperfect fruit and vegetables for its chefs to use. So far the produce is up to 15-20% cheaper.
Anthony Kingsley, Vacherin's lead on sustainability & CSR, said: "While retailers are not transparent, estimates suggest a single large retailer disposes of 2.5 tonnes of produce per week. Alas, a majority is binned because it does not meet the necessary specifics, even though it still tastes as good as the other produce. The planet just cannot sustain over-production like this and we need to find alternatives ways of doing things."
A client launch - including marketing materials under the I'mperfect banner - targets diners at each Vacherin unit.
Dan Kelly, director of food at Vacherin, said: "No-one can tell which dishes contain I'mperfect produce and which do not. There is a place and time for any size, shape or colour of produce - it's just a matter of planning, education and creativity."
He added: "The foodservice industry is in a perfect place to help address this issue. We are not as constrained as retailers, seldom need the same volumes that they do, and we prepare produce before serving it to consumers. We have found that it actually saves us money."
Kingsley said: "This is only the first step - it's ultimately about systematic change. We have to bring this imperfect fruit and veg back into the mainstream - working to educate consumers, clients and suppliers to understand that our choices have a cost, whether it's financial or environmental.
"We throw away enough food waste each year to fill the Royal Albert Hall 30 times over - this is not only a cost to the environment, but also a cost to the business and farmer."
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