Waste and the effective treatment of waste has been and will continue to be one of the biggest issues faced by our global society. From smallish scale recent pushes to eliminate plastic bags, shown to be successful across parts of Australia, to the quest to eliminate packaging in general waste management has been a hot topic of discussion for many years. Successful shifts in waste management must by necessity be more focused upon shifting mindsets regarding waste management rather then the physical dealings with waste.
One movement to effectively challenge current wasteful produce habits is the French supermarket chain Intermarche. At a 30% discount the supermarket is now selling misshapen fruit and vegetables which would otherwise be thrown away by the supermarket or farmer. Branded as the inglorious fruits and vegetables Intermarche has set out to prove that unsightly produce is just as edible and has should not be hidden even giving the less a’peel’ing products their own section. By celebrating the defective produce Intermarche has inspired confidence in their products and their discount only furthers their viability (Cliff: 2014). The campaign has been a roaring success, within a month it has reached over 13 million people and according to Wilson (2014) has sparked international conversation about the high levels of waste produced in supermarkets.
The value in Intermarche’s initiative cannot be understated, by attacking mindsets regarding food waste, they aim to create meaningful and lasting change. Already other supermarket chains Auchan and Monoprix have launched similar campaigns selling aesthetically challenged produce(Mulholland: 2014). Such an initiative requires no outside funding and actually proves profitable for both farmers and Intermarche as both parties are able to sell on produce that would otherwise be discarded for a discount. According to Duncan (2014) this scheme allows for more fruit to go to supermarkets and would help to combat the 20 – 40% of fruits and vegetables which are thrown out due to their inability to reach the high cosmetic standards of supermarkets.
While Intermarche’s campaign has been successful a long term solution to food wastage will need to be as multi faceted as the problem. According to Schwartz (2014) the most productive path to cutting food wastage will be through the encouragement of food sharing and donation. It is one thing to improve attitudes surrounding visually unappealing fruits and vegetables but finding ways to encourage people to equitably share their food poses a completely unique set of challenges altogether.
Baranowski, M. 2014. Waste Not, Want Not. BBMG. Viewed 20 April 2015 <http://bbmg.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/BBMG_Trends_WasteNot.pdf>
Cliff, M. 2014. Forget the ugli fruit, meet the ugly fruit bowl! French supermarket introduces lumpy and misshapen fruit and vegetables – sold at a 30% discount – to combat food waste. The Daily Mail. Viewed 20 April 2015 <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/food/article-2693000/Forget-ugli-fruit-meet-ugly-fruit-bowl-French-supermarket-introduces-lumpy-misshapen-fruit-vegetables-sold-30-discount-combat-food-waste.html>
Hower, M. 2013. Kroger Converting Food Waste to Clean Energy To Power Compton Distribution Center. Sustainable Brands Viewed 27 April 2015 <http://www.sustainablebrands.com/>
Mulholland, R. 2014. ‘Ugly’ Fruit ands Vegetables Prove a Hit in France. The Telegraph Viewed 20 April 2015 <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/11131994/Ugly-fruit-and-vegetables-prove-a-hit-in-France.html>
Schwartz, A. 2014. What Grocery Stores can do to Eliminate the Food Waste Problem. Fast Magazine. Viewed 20 April 2015 <http://www.fastcoexist.com/3039421/what-grocery-stores-can-do-to-eliminate-the-food-waste-problem>
Intermarche 2014, Intermarche – ‘Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables’, videorecording, Vimeo,
viewed 03 May 2014, <https://vimeo.com/98441820>.
Mertens, F. 2014. How to Tackle Food Waste? Sell Ugly Fruit! Expressions That Inspire. Viewed 28 April 2015 <http://expressions-that-inspire.com/how-to-tackle-food-waste-sell-ugly-fruit/>