The ugly truth behind baby carrots

The food industry boasts many little-known facts. One of my favorites concerns baby carrots.

Fact: The baby carrots most of us eat aren’t really “baby carrots.” Gasp!

They are adult carrots, cut into two-inch pieces and polished into appealing snacks.  And more accurately, the baby carrots we think of are actually baby-cut carrots.

Ugly Carrots

California farmer Mike Yurosek was unhappy at having to discard ugly carrots that his customers wouldn’t accept. He started cutting them using an industrial green bean cutter after which he placed them in a potato peeler for peeling and polishing. Yurosek’s Bunny-Luv carrots first hit the market in 1986 and set off a 33 percent increase in American carrot consumption.

(Visit the World Carrot Museum website for my source material and learn way more than you ever thought you wanted to know about carrots.)

The scraps left over from baby carrot processing first led to an increased supply of carrots for juicing, but processing has become more efficient, leading to less waste. As processing grew increasingly efficient, baby carrot production actually allowed processors to enjoy a higher yield than they’d had from traditional methods.  These days, specific carrot breeds are cultivated to cut into baby carrots.

This does lead to some questions:

1.  Are there other commodity products that can be transformed in the way baby carrots were?

2.  Can waste from processing one food product be used to create something entirely new?