Bananas are the biggest food waste offender and they usually get thrown out when they’re still edible. A study from Karlstad University in Sweden measured the country’s grocery food waste and found bananas are being wasted more than any other item. They say the biggest problem is that many people only want to eat yellow bananas. When they see bananas with brown spots, they’re likely to throw them away.
But dark bananas aren’t necessarily bad. As bananas age, bacteria turns the starch into sugars, so the older and darker the banana, the sweeter it will be — despite being a bit mushy. People generally prefer bananas that are firmer, which means perfectly edible bananas are being thrown out. And it’s not just specific to Sweden. In the UK, 1.4 million bananas are said to be thrown away every day.
30% of people admit to throwing away a banana if it has a minor bruise or dark spot. 13% say that they throw away fruit if the skin is a bit green. UK supermarket chain Sainsbury’s launched “banana rescue” stations in its stores, urging people to use overripe bananas in baking, like banana bread or muffins, in order to reduce the number that goes to waste.