How One Grocery Store Is Fighting Food Waste With Ugly Produce

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Promo image. Intermarché

Malformed fruits and vegetables are all too often the casualties of grocery stores’ aesthetic standards. Consumers gravitate towards the most perfect fruits and veggies, and many stores seek to gratify this impulse. Unfortunately, this leads to a huge amount of food waste, as ugly yet edible food goes unsold.

According to a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council, 40 percent of food in the U.S. goes uneaten. Food waste occurs along every link of the production chain. However, getting ugly fruits and vegetables into grocery stores and convincing people to eat them is one big way to reduce wastage. According to the same report, supermarkets lose an estimated $15 billion in unsold fruits and vegetables.

Intermarché, a French grocery store, is sticking up for the ugly produce of the world, with a new marketing campaign and a more budget-friendly price point. The aesthetically challenged produce is 30 percent cheaper, and is also marketed with clever in-store signs, with comments like “An ugly carrot is a beautiful soup.”

The campaign is showing some signs of success. Canadian Grocer reports that the supermarket saw a 60 percent increase in traffic to the store’s fruit and vegetable section.