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Meijer Offers Perfectly-Imperfect Produce to Shoppers

Misfits program now available at all Meijer stores provides new option to save money and reduce food waste

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Meijer has found a perfectly-imperfect fit for customers interested in reducing food waste and sacrificing aesthetics for savings.

Meijer now offers a unique line of Misfits® produce that helps connect shoppers to tasty but cosmetically-challenged fruits and vegetables at a reduced price. Delivered daily to 235 Meijer stores across the Midwest, the packaged fresh produce may be discolored, scarred or odd-sized, but offers the same taste, freshness and quality of other produce the retailer carries.

The Misfits program rolled out at all Meijer locations earlier this month, and customers have already purchased nearly a quarter of a million pounds of fresh, perfectly-imperfect produce. The Misfits program is made available through working with Robinson Fresh®. As a division of C.H. Robinson, the company is one of the world’s leading providers of produce, working with farms to repurpose fruits and vegetables that might not make it to your grocery store due to their appearance or shape.

“Meijer offers more than 600 types of produce, so the Misfits program has been an incredible extension to our overall selection,” said Peter Vail, Vice President of Produce, Deli and Bakery for Meijer. “There is an inner beauty of this perfectly-imperfect produce. Our customers have responded well to the produce made available through the Misfits program.”

Launching this program chain-wide complements Meijer’s sustainability goals, which supports the USDA’s goal of reducing food waste by 50 percent by the year 2030. Meijer also runs a Midwestern food rescue program that provides more than 10 million pounds of food—or more than 8 million meals—annually to local food banks in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Kentucky.

Currently, the United Nations estimates between 20 percent and 40 percent of produce harvested each year is thrown away because it does not meet accepted standards for store shelves. Nearly half of the available food supply in the U.S. is never eaten, according to the National Institutes of Health, wasting an estimated 35 tons of food per year. When food waste cannot be donated to feed hungry people, Meijer strives to recycle it through composting, anaerobic digestion or animal feed. Last year, Meijer recycled over 47.8 million pounds of food waste.

“We understand there is produce left in the field because farmers don’t think there is a market for it,” says Craig Arneson, Robinson Fresh general manager of the north region. “With the Misfits program, farmers have an outlet to sell more produce and customers have an opportunity to save money and help reduce waste.”

Local growers like River Ridge Farms from Sparta, Mich., have been part of Meijer’s Locally Grown program for 27 years and is one of the farms finding this new way to bring freshness to stores.

“Growers work hard to try and grow apples with the perfect shape, color and size, but since apples are grown outside, they may end up with an odd shape because it grew around a branch or has low color due to growing in a shady spot on the tree,” said Don Armock, president of Riveridge Produce. “Teaming with Meijer on the Misfits program, growers have an opportunity to sell imperfect, but great tasting fruit while the consumer gets to save on fresh produce while maybe even getting a laugh out of its odd look.”

Misfits produce items vary week to week based on their availability and are sold at a discount of between 20 to 40 percent; some of the seasonably-available produce has included apples, bell peppers, lemons, limes and sweet potatoes. Customers should look for prominently displayed Misfits bins and signage in the produce section of their local Meijer store.

About Meijer: Meijer is a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based retailer that operates 235 supercenters and grocery stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin. A privately-owned and family-operated company since 1934, Meijer pioneered the “one-stop shopping” concept and has evolved through the years to include expanded fresh produce and meat departments, as well as pharmacies, comprehensive apparel departments, pet departments, garden centers, toys and electronics. For additional information on Meijer, please visit www.meijer.com. Follow Meijer on Twitter @twitter.com/Meijer and @twitter.com/MeijerPR or become a fan at www.facebook.com/meijer.

Jump Start Busy School Days with Ohio Eggs

Quick-and-easy, high-protein breakfast recipes can be customized for entire family

COLUMBUS – It’s back-to-school time, and thousands of Ohio families are adjusting to the days of busy schedules, early mornings and after-school practices. To start the day off right, the Ohio Poultry Association (OPA) is educating Ohioans on the importance of eating a nutritious breakfast before heading out the door for the day.

“As families settle into new routines, it’s often easy to overlook the important start to our day,” said Jim Chakeres, OPA executive vice president. “What better way to send students off to school than with a protein-packed breakfast featuring one of nature’s most perfect foods – eggs.”

Experts agree that starting the day with nutrient-rich foods, such as eggs, can give students the fuel they need to feel energized throughout the day and important nutrients to succeed in school. Studies show that students who eat breakfast perform better academically, are less likely to become overweight, are absent and tardy less often, and have fewer discipline problems.

Eggs are high-protein, so individuals can stay energized and feel full longer, which helps in maintaining a healthy weight. One large egg contains 13 essential nutrients at only 70 calories each. Eggs yolks are also one of the best sources of choline, a nutrient required by many cells in the body to function properly, especially brain and nerve cells.

“There are many simple recipes families on the go can try to put a creative spin on traditional egg breakfasts,” said Chakeres.

Quick-and-easy breakfast recipes that can be customized for the whole family, include:

· Protein-packed Breakfast Pizza Bagels from Foodtastic Mom are a family-friendly start to the day and can be customized with favorite toppings!

· Perfect for busy school mornings, these Breakfast Burritos from A Cedar Spoon are a freezer-friendly meal kids will love.

· Eggs, ham and cheese join forces in this three-ingredient Microwave 1-Minute Ham & Egg Breakfast Bowl that’s fast and mess-free.

Ohio is one of the largest egg farming states in the nation, producing more than 9 billion eggs each year, with a value of more than $1.2 billion. Ohio egg farmers make egg safety a top priority and are proud to provide Ohioans with high-quality, wholesome eggs.

For more information about egg farming, recipes and the health benefits eggs offer, visit www.OhioEggs.com.

I Just Learned How To Pick The Perfect Watermelon, And It’s Pretty Easy

Michelle No

BuzzFeed Staff

You’ve been there: You’re at the grocery store looking for a watermelon, but have no idea which one to pick among all the identical-looking green spheres.

It’s easy to identify the underripe culprits among soft fruits like strawberries, peaches, or pears, but watermelons’ hard shells make them impervious to a simple touch test.

It’s easy to identify the underripe culprits among soft fruits like strawberries, peaches, or pears, but watermelons’ hard shells make them impervious to a simple touch test.

Thankfully, there is a way to pick out ripe watermelon, and it’s pretty easy to remember.

Some of you have probably known this technique for ages but I also only recently learned how to cut watermelon — so let me live.

The trick? Simply look for a “field spot,” or the yellowish underside of the watermelon that was in contact with the ground during its growth.

If the field spot is white or nonexistent, that means the fruit hasn’t been sitting out on the field long enough and is thus underripe. A yellow or even orangeish spot, on the other hand, indicates chlorophyll loss and a ripened fruit.

According to the New York Times, you also want a fruit that’s uniform in shape and has a dull, matte sheen.

Bumps and curves indicate that the fruit might’ve had inconsistent runs of water or sun.

And, of course, the most conventional way to tell if your watermelon is ripe is to knock on it with your knuckles and listen for a nice, deep sound.

This method is debated but basically, a deep, hollow thud indicates the watermelon’s delicious, high-water content while a more high-pitched sound means the fruit is underripe.

If you’re still unsure, one watermelon expert on Reddit suggests that seedless watermelons are usually extremely sweet and tasty.

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