French supermarket to sell ‘ugly’ fruit and veg to tackle food waste



Supermarket chain Intermarché has launched a new initiative to sell aesthetically-imperfect fruit and vegetables at a 30% discount, as a way to reduce food waste.

The programme was launched by Intermarché in the city of Provins and was named ‘Les fruits et légumes moches’ (Ugly fruit and vegetables’). The products are sold a 30% discount compared to ‘beautiful’ fruit and vegetables, hoping to increase consumer awareness on food waste.

The retailer said in a statement, “Too small, too crooked, too ugly…From weird shape or inadequate size, some fruits and vegetables are condemned, at harvest time, to be excluded from sales channels. Yet they represent 40% of production in France”.

Posters on the initiative were also put up in the shop to explain that despite the size and appearance, ugly fruit and vegetables make great food. The campaign has proven successful, with all 272kg of goods sold within three days.

Speaking to Resource magazine, Niki Charalampopoulou, from campaign group Feeding the 5000, commented in the initiative, “Intermarche is one of many European supermarkets that have recently risen up to the ugly fruit and veg challenge.

“Recent experience in the UK shows that selling wonky fruit and veg has enormous potential and is one of the easiest ways of dramatically reducing food waste in the supply chain. In 2012 alone, 300000 tonnes of wonky fruit and veg were saved from being wasted due to UK retailers temporarily relaxing their cosmetic standards because of bad weather.

“What the latest initiative from Intermarche shows is that marketing ‘imperfect’ fruit and vegetables makes perfect sense from an environmental and economic point of view. And the public love it too.”

A study from last year commissioned by the UK’s Global Food Security (GFS) revealed that up to 40% of edible food never reaches supermarket shelves because  aesthetically unpleasant.

Photo: D. Sharon Pruitt via flickr

Further reading:

Food worth £2.4bn thrown away unopened every year

Up to 40% of food wasted because of ‘ugliness’

Tesco to put ‘ugly’ fruit and veg on special offer to cut waste

World wasting up to half of global food

Food waste decreases – but Britons are still throwing away 24 meals a month


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