Ugly leads the charge against food waste, one potato at a time

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Ugly leads the charge against food waste, one potato at a time

Related tags Dieffenbach's Uglies upcycled foods Food waste hunger supporting farmers

Dieffenbach’s Uglies is ramping up its efforts to reduce waste, fight hunger and support farmers with the introduction of a quirky new mascot.

The ugly truth is each year, six billion pounds of produce in the US goes unharvested or unsold for aesthetic reasons. Since 1945, the USDA Grades and Standards for Fruits and Vegetables' definition of ‘perfect produce’ means that anything that is not perfectly round, symmetrical or unblemished is typically rejected.

Americans throw out uneaten food averaging $165bn annually, and spend another $750m a year to dispose of it. Especially shocking when 20% of the world’s children under the age of five are undernourished.

However, small changes will eventually lead to bigger things and Uglies said a mere 15% reduction in food waste would feed 25 million Americans in need.

The mission-driven division of Dieffenbach’s Potato Chips is committed to change the state of play, crafting its small batch Kettle Chips from potatoes that are either too large or too small, are the wrong colour or have the wrong sugar content. Some are slightly blemished, are a little rough around the edges and some are just farmer surplus.

But what’s lacking in the looks department is more than made up for in taste … and for what it’s doing for society.

Since founding in 2017, Uglies has upcycled more than five million pounds of potatoes that would otherwise have gone to waste. This not only helps reducing waste, but supports farmers and fights hunger. 10% of all profits of Uglies Kettle Chips are donated to Vivakids, a Pennsylvania charitable organisation dedicated to fighting hunger globally.

‘Not seconds, but betters’

Now the brand is intensifying its purpose with a new logo, website and package design.

The bold new bags of Sea Salt, Salt & Vinegar, Bar-B-Que, Jalapeno and Buffalo Ranch chips are anything but ugly. A new member has been added to the family, too: Cheddar & Sour Cream. According to the US snack producer, the makeover speaks of a more punched-up personality targeting a modern audience, while strengthening its standout on shelf. The new look chips are rolling out this month in outlets across the US.

Uglies 1

It is also debuting Ugly, which legend foretells, was born under a full moon in the potato fields of a fertile valley in southeastern Pennsylvania and is made of pure personality. Ugly’s a cheeky chap, oozing character and a ‘tongue-in-cheek’ spin to combat the negative perception the word often elicits.

“By employing a more modern and exciting representation and using a stylised character, this rebrand is a departure from a traditional, old fashion-inspired design typically found in specialty food aisles and will help to reposition the brand as a national competitor in the salty snacks category,”​ explained Morgan Santoro, marketing manager of Uglies.

The new look and messaging have been extended to the brand’s revamped website, which is designed to provide a more user-centric digital experience to find and shop for Uglies Kettle Chips, including reseller resources for partnering distributors.

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