Sainsbury’s has abandoned plans to sell misshapen vegetables as Halloween-themed healthy snacks due to prohibitions on the sale of irregular produce under European Union law.
The supermarket giant had intended to market “wonky” produce as ‘witches fingers’ and ‘zombie brains’ despite European law regulations on the size and appearance of fruit and vegetables.
However, the scheme has been called off as individual store managers could have been prosecuted for flouting the ban.
Sainsbury’s has now launched a campaign, dubbed ‘Save Our British Fruit and Veg’, designed to pressure legislators into easing the regulations.
“Because Halloween is focused on sweets and snacks for children, we thought we would add a healthy message and use the surplus vegetables,” a spokesman for the supermarket told The Observer.
“We knew it was illegal but we were happy to take that risk as a company. Last week we discovered it wouldn't actually be us as a company that would be prosecuted [but] individual store managers – and obviously we could not ask our staff to risk a criminal record for the good of the company.”
Later this month EU lawmakers are expected to vote in favour of relaxing the conditions applied to 26 vegetables, although any change in the regulations would not come into force until next year.
Sainsbury’s brand integrity and sustainability manager Sue Henderson added: “We're not allowed to use up to 20% of what's produced in this country and in the current crunch climate, we cannot continue to waste this much food before it even leaves the farms. Buying wonky veg would have saved cash-strapped Britons up to 40 per cent on some items.”