People like to be seen to be saying and doing the right thing.

It can be dropping the penny change from the £4.99 joint of meat into the charity box or vowing never to waste food again after catching sight of an emaciated child on the news.

I am as guilty as the next guy, buying massive cartons of tomatoes from Costco I cannot possibly hope to finish before they perish, and top up on bread from the local Turkish grocer that turns blue with mould within a few days because middle-age spread has prompted me to reduce my intake.

Waste is a terrible thing. We all feel guilty when we know people in the world are going hungry.

The supermarket chains reject fruit and veg that fail to make the specified grade – not because they are inedible but because they are wrinkled and gnarled, crinkled and bent.

In fact, odd-shaped, very ripe fruit and veg that resembles the face of the late Sid James is often better than the stuff that looks as if Santa’s elves have stayed up all night polishing them.

We all do it – we gravitate towards the shiniest and biggest capsicums, the avocados with the least blemished skin, the most symmetrical and gleaming fruit that look like Michelangelo could have created them.

So I am sceptical when Mintel’s latest report on fruit and vegetables says that nearly half of shoppers who buy fruit and veg claim they would buy oddly shaped products if they were of good quality.

Supermarket fruit and veg buyers are no fools. They are well aware what people say and do are two entirely different things.

If almost half of us were willing to buy bent carrots or potatoes with phallic appendages the big boys would offer them to us by the crate load.

I often lament local grocery stores where pathetic-looking fruit and veg is displayed outside in plastic bowls, gathering street pollution. Few buy them.

Mintel is right to believe there is a marketing opportunity especially with the recent focus on food waste, the proliferation of food banks, community shops selling reject product and short-dated specialists.

But these are niche opportunities.

The supermarkets’ pristine fruit and veg displays are eye-candy front-of store that draw the customer in.

It takes an awfully brave supermarket to replace princes with frogs. 

After all, they’re in business to provide us with what we want, not what they think we should want.