/ Food & Drink

Would you be put off by green satsumas or clementines?


They taste exactly the same as the fruit you’re used to – they’re just not orange. Would you put them in your shopping basket?

Tesco has started selling green satsumas, having relaxed some of its quality specifications in a bid to cut down on food waste. Green clementines will also be hitting the supermarket’s shelves in time for Christmas.

Although the fruit look distinctly like slightly squashed limes on the outside, the flesh inside is orange, ripe and, Tesco insists, perfectly edible.

The reason for the unusual-coloured skins is that warmer autumnal weather in Spain, where the fruit grows, has delayed the natural process by which the fruit turns orange.

To meet the quality specifications set by UK supermarkets, farmers often accelerate the ripening process of the fruit by placing them in a special room. However, this extra handling can lead to an increase in waste.

By cutting out this handling stage and being the first UK supermarket to sell the fruit with green skins, Tesco claims it will slash waste. It also says the fruit will be ultimately fresher and its shelf life will be prolonged by up to two days.

The green satsumas come in a 600g net bag and are being sold at exactly the same price – £1 – as conventional orange ones.

Wonky veg

Of course, supermarkets selling wonky, misshapen or ‘ugly’ fruit and veg is nothing new.

Faced with criticisms that they were contributing to the UK food waste mountain by sticking too rigidly to quality specifications and routinely rejecting such items, many supermarkets now sell wonky veg at discounted prices.

But I’m wondering if other supermarkets should follow Tesco’s lead and sell ‘ugly’ fruit and veg as part of their main lines at full price?

Shopping in one of Sardinia’s major supermarkets the other weekend, I saw all manner of misshapen fruit and veg for sale.

What was most refreshing is that they weren’t discounted. No, these funny-shaped types were all mixed in with their more perfectly formed counterparts – and no one seemed to be duly fussing about what ones they picked to buy either.

Perhaps if UK supermarkets took a similar stance, shoppers would be less conditioned to only buying perfectly formed fruit and veg. Surely this would cut waste and be fairer on the farmers?

I, for one, will give the green oranges (or, more specifically, satsumas and clementines) a go. Will you?

Would you buy green satsumas and clementines?

Yes, they taste exactly the same as orange ones (66%, 335 Votes)

No, I’ll stick to the orange ones, thank you very much (34%, 175 Votes)

Total Voters: 510

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Have you tried green satsumas or clementines yet? What did they taste like? Should more supermarkets sell ‘imperfect’ fruit as part of their main lines rather than discounting it?


I’ve not bought any green fruit but the last time I bought satsumas from Tesco there were a couple with green patches and they tasted fine.

The best way to encourage people to accept the green variety would be to sell bags containing an odd green one so that buyers can compare the taste.

It’s a matter of perception and past experience. Since most oranges have been orange it’s what we expect. Green is associated with unripe fruit and a sour taste. To change these ideas, there needs to be a marketing push and the fruit will have to taste better than it looks. Samples in supermarkets and television adverts would help if the money spent on these was economic to the cost of growing and selling the produce.

You are right, Vynor. Any fruit or veg that does not look the ‘normal’ colour of meat that is not bright red can be off-putting. A friend grows weird coloured tomatoes and after I turned up my nose at some of them she does her best to find weird and wonderful produce to help me overcome my conditioning. Waitrose tend to stock strangely coloured produce and it is often reduced in price because it does not sell well. I never had any problem with odd-shaped veg because my father was a keen gardener and produced carrots with two or three ‘legs’ and odd-shaped tomatoes.

All oranges were green in West Africa in the 1970s. I was surprised then though soon got used to it. Corn/Maize was mostly black or ‘blue’. Varieties have been bred to be palatable colours. The first bite is with the eye!

Some friends of my mother used to grow yellow tomatoes. From what I remember, they were just as nice as red ones.

I was introduced to striped tomatoes this year. They seem to be referred to as zebra tomatoes.

I grew them. Back to redskins.

better! The ones I grew, I think, were called sungold

It’s quite funny in Start Trek when you see aliens eating fruit and veg the American public generally isn’t used to (and sometimes us too) but are perfectly terrestrial.

I’d sooner eat a nice tasting green-skinned orange than a superweet but tasteless peach like those we’ve had for a while at our local Tesco.

Agreed, Sophie. I would rather it taste nice – despite it’s colour!

Some years ago when holidaying in Greece a lady gave a green orange to my young son. I was very worried that it would upset his tummy, but she assured me it was ripe. Before I gave him any I tasted it myself and she was so right it was gorgeous, really fresh and sweet. So green doesn’t necessarily mean unripe.

Hi Jane, what a lovely story. Have you had any green oranges since?

For a number of years, some long time ago now, Morrisons used to sell green grapefruit. They were far superior to the standard yellow ones. They only had a short season and, sad to say after a couple of poor growing seasons when they tasted like cardboard, have not been available for a number of years now. I wouldn’t hesitate to buy green citrus fruits that taste good.

As to price, I quite agree that this should not be judged on looks alone but not all wonky produce simply lacks good appearance. Whilst I am quite happy to buy wonky avocados that are hardly bigger than their seed for a reduced price, I would not be content to pay flesh price for something the majority of which will inevitably end up in the compost bin.

And when you have been around as long as self service supermarkets (although a common practise that has continued into modern times) you’ll possibly recall that the best lookers inevitably go first and the end of the box will always contain the misshapen and less attractive that get left on the shelf. Undoubtedly part of the reason why supermarkets came up with their standards of acceptance in the first place.