People often talk about the crippling beauty standards of the fashion or film industries but apparently our food undergoes the same scrutiny. Our produce aisles, it turns out, are far more curated than you may think. You might recall Marcel’s Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables campaign that won the Design Museum’s graphics category for Design of the Year last month (it was also championed in our 2014 It’s Nice That Annual and picked up a D&AD Yellow Pencil). In a similar vein, Tim Smyth’s bright orange book Defective Carrots is an alternative encyclopaedia of farmers’ market misfits and looks at 56 ugly, unwanted carrots that didn’t make the food industry cut. Some are grotesque, some are strangely endearing, and some are outright phallic but many are only vaguely irregular and beg the question: are we just too picky?
The Frankencarrot rejects featured in Defective Carrots were deemed unfit by a ruthless sorting machine that weeds out even those only a degree too crooked. Besides being a strange, kind of crazy book, it offers a glimpse at our increasingly bizarre relationship with food. It also taps into the discussion around the food waste initiatives that have been gaining traction in the last year or so, with France passing a law against supermarkets throwing away edible food only last month. It’s a charming project with a strong message that feels timely and lighthearted all at once.