People are encouraged to eat 5 fruits and vegetables every day. That adds up to a lot of money for families to spend on their weekly groceries. However, we will manage to throw away 300 million tons every year. Produce that doesn’t look like it is “supposed to” is often tossed by farmers because nobody wants to buy it.
Those who grow their own fruits and vegetables know that often times they do not turn out to fit into the image of perfect produce that we hold. It is even common at farmer’s markets to see a crooked zucchini or an ugly carrot.
One supermarket in particular decided to do something about the absurd amount of preventable food waste. They are seeking out and buying produce with imperfections directly from the farmers and growers to sell them in stores. They are saving the produce from being thrown out and giving it a second chance.
This grocery store, called Intermaché, is one of the leading supermarket chains in France. They are embracing these fruits that are not so perfect. “Inglorious” as Intermaché calls them. These fruits and vegetables look abnormal, but they have the same nutritional value, taste the same, and are indistinguishable from the perfect ones once they are peeled, cut and served.
At first glance, one might be turned off by the strange produce and pass it by. The store needed to prove that the fruits and veggies still taste the same (even though they might look a little different.) In order to do that, they distributed products made from the produce, such as vegetable soups and fruit juices. Some of these were given out for free to passing customers, and they even put some on the shelf to sell.
These ugly fruits have their own aisle, labels, prices and codes. They even get their own separate section on the receipt. They even have their own marketing campaign starring the inglorious fruits and vegetables. These include the grotesque apple, the ridiculous potato, the hideous orange, the failed lemon, the disfigured eggplant, and the ugly carrot, and the unfortunate clementine.
Once the campaign took off and word got around about the ugly fruits and the meaning behind it, Intermaché faced a new challenge. They were actually selling out of the inglorious fruits and vegetables! Some appreciated the lower prices, but many jumped on board with the campaign because they, like the store, wanted to work towards eliminating food waste. The campaign was so well received that Intermaché now struggles to keep the inglorious fruits and vegetables stocked.
They were an immediate success and it increased awareness in food waste. It created a lot of conversations and quickly spread through social media and news outlets. Soon, people were going to Intermaché to buy the inglorious produce and reporters were suggesting that every grocery store should be doing the same thing.
What do you think about the sale of “ugly fruits” in your grocery stores? If you had the option of purchasing the flaw-free fruits or the grotesque ones (with significant savings) which one would you put in your cart?
At Budget Dumpster, we have been striving to raise awareness about food waste in the United States. While we haven’t seen this adopted yet here in the U.S., we hope some brave grocery stores will follow suit soon to decrease the amount of food waste in our country.
You can watch the video about the campaign here.