French grocer tackles food waste with "ugly fruit" POS

Intermarché is pushing produce that would have been tossed with clever TV ads, and in-store POS

French retailer Intermarché is going after food waste with cheeky advertising urging shoppers to pick "ugly" produce.

Over two days in April, Intermarché stores in the north-central town of Provins had ugly produce (mishapen and would have been tossed by growers) in dedicated areas with POS advertising.

The retailer commissioned well-known food and drink photographer Patrice de Villiers to snap images of misshapen fruit and vegetables.

His images were then used to advertise a special section in Intermarché stores that sold “ugly” fruits and vegetables for 30% less than “pretty” ones.

READ: Canada wastes $27 billion worth of food a year

There were also funny posters to support the campaign, such as: "Ugly orange - makes very nice juice", "Ugly potato - voted Miss Purée 2013", and "For your health, eat five ugly fruits and vegetables a day."

Consumers could also enjoy a free "ugly juice" at point-of-sale or pick up Inglorious Vegetables Soups and Inglorious Fruit Juices made from the ugly produce.

The Marcel Paris campaign also included TV ads such as one featuring a strangely deformed Clementine. A voice-over states matter-of-factly that her imperfections are "actually quite cute."

READ: One third of all food produced worldwide gets wasted

In-store, France's third largest retailer put the ugly produce into their own supermarket aisles, featuring separate labelling and even a separate listing on the receipt.

Results following the campaign showed a 60% increase in traffic to the retailer's fruit and vegetabes section and a 24% uptick in overall store traffic.

It is estimated that 300 million tonnes of fruit and vegetables are wasted each year. The European Union has designated 2014 as the European Year against Food Waste.

With the campaign's success, Intermarché is considering a roll out of the program across France.

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