The tendency of major supermarkets to demand only fruit that is ‘perfect’ in shape and color has put a strain on farmers and growers due to the large amount of rejected fruit that it causes. This level of wastage can be particularly pronounced in organic crops.

Waitrose insisted that it is not compromising on quality or flavor, saying that even though the fruit won’t look perfect the eating quality is exactly the same. It hopes that customers will purchase it to make jams, chutneys and cakes.

The range, which goes on sale at 57 of the 179 Waitrose branches from today, will include year-round rhubarb and Bramley apples, plus seasonal plums, cherries, pears, quince and other berries, and packs will cost around 50 pence to GBP1 per kilo less than normal.