Shock price of Christmas staple

Farmers Pick co-founder
Supermarkets are knocking back cherries for being millimetres too small according to a viral video. Picture: TikTok/FarmersPick

A small-business owner has gone viral on TikTok with a video claiming large supermarket chains’ “unrealistic beauty” standards for produce is leading to mass wastage and the skyrocketing price of cherries.

In the video, Farmer’s Pick co-founder Josh Ball can be seen with 4,000kg of rescued cherries from NSW and Victorian farms he claims were discarded due to being “millimetres to small” or “having a blemish”.

“This year, over three million kilos of cherries are going to go to waste,” he said in the video.

“Because they don’t meet the supermarket’s unrealistic beauty standards.”

Mr Ball goes on to say the rejected fruits are no less tasty than their prettier brothers and sisters which they gather at Farmers Pick and sell at a discount rate.

The video currently has over 330,000 views.

A shot of some of the cherries that supermarkets rejected. Picture: TikTok
A shot of some of the cherries that supermarkets rejected. Picture: TikTok/FarmersPick

“They taste just as juicy and sweet,” he said.

A Woolworths spokesperson in response said they “work closely” with Australian cherry growers to make sure “we’re maximising total crop to reduce any wastage”.

They also said they accept some less than stellar looking fruits and move them on at a discount.

“This includes also selling imperfect fruit through The Odd Bunch,” the spokesperson said.

“Where we offer fruit that might be a little imperfect but still great tasting for at least 20 per cent less than our regular range.”

A spokesperson for Coles said they try to balance limiting food waste with making sure the customer gets a quality product by also offering a range of budget fruits.

“We assess all produce for eating quality, ripeness, pest damage, appearance and expected shelf life, and are deeply committed to balancing this with reducing food waste,” they said.

“A growing number of our customers recognise that great-tasting fruit and vegetables come in all shapes and sizes and are increasingly buying from our I’mPerfect range, which offers customers fresh and nutritious fruit and vegetables that have a flawed appearance at an affordable price.

“In the last financial year, Coles has sold more than 20,000 tonnes of fruit and vegetables in the I’mPerfect range and returned more than $37 million to our suppliers.”

Farmers Pick co-founder
Farmers Pick co-founder Josh Ball with some the repackaged cherries they sell. Picture: TikTok/FarmersPick

Mr Ball said the ranges supermarkets offer aren’t enough to help struggling farmers, especially cherry farmers who this season are struggling due to rain splitting their fruit and that prices are incredibly high for the everyday customer.

“What the supermarkets offer is a good step, it is just a little limited and generally only comes in select quantities,” he said.

“It sees cherries at a price of $22 a kilo at the start of the season, with them on special for around $16.90.

“Cherry farmers have lost fifty per cent of their crop due to rain, that’s not including what the supermarkets don’t accept due to their specs.

“The farmers are at a point now this season where they just want to cover their cost.” | @JordoMc85