Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables: A Campaign Against Food Waste

A supermarket in France comes up with campaign to sell imperfect fruit and veggies.

by Cari Jorgensen

Have you ever come across an odd-looking fruit or vegetable at your supermarket? What about at your local farmer’s market? Maybe you’ve seen one or two in your own garden. Buyers pick up the fruit, examine it and put it back. They do the same with the vegetable. Sometimes it goes uneaten, thrown out because it’s unlikely to sell.

According to European Union regulations, farmers cannot even attempt to sell imperfect fruit or vegetables, even if it’s edible. Appearance and size are key.

This regulation results in farmers throwing out 300 million tons (over 600 million pounds) of good—although non-compliant—fruits and vegetables each year. To waste that much food is absurd, as the video states.

Grotesque Apple. Photo courtesy Intermarche
Photo courtesy Intermarche

Intermarché, a French supermarket chain, has come up with a brilliant idea. Dubbed Les fruit et légumes moche (Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables), the idea is to eliminate food waste. How are they doing it? By celebrating the “beauty of the Grotesque Apple, the Ridiculous Potato, the Hideous Orange, the Failed Lemon, the Disfigured Eggplant, the Ugly Carrot, and the Unfortunate Clementine,” according to the video blurb on YouTube.

Intermarché took to print, television, film, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to promote the Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables campaign. They offered the produce at a 30 percent discount, and gave hesitant customers juice and snacks made from the fruit and vegetables to taste.

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Shoppers soon discovered that just because the produce looks different doesn’t mean it tastes different, and purchased 1.2 tons (2,645 pounds) of the product per store each day.

Now two other French supermarket chains are following suit.

Should the U.S. join this campaign? How successful do you think it would be?

Read more about other ways to sell fruits and vegetables:

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