The Co-operative Group intends to sell ugly fruit and vegetables in a bid to support British farmers and growers affected by one of the worst summers on record.

Misshapen or skin-blemished goods will be sold in the retailer’s Simply Value produce range, while size reductions have been introduced on standard fruit and vegetable lines, including apples and potatoes.

The move is designed to help growers affected by the poor summer weather, which devastated harvests of British crops but will also help control costs and reduce the need for imports.

Point of sale material - flagging up the great taste of the produce despite the unusual appearance - will also be rolled out across stores.

“We will continue our support for British farmers during this difficult period, by working with them to make the most of this year’s crop,” Kate Jones, head of product development and farms, The Co-operative Group, said.

“Great-tasting but odd-shaped or ‘ugly’ fruit and vegetables will be included in selected lines to maximise use of the crop available. At the same time, we will continue to do all we can to remain competitive on price for our customers.”