The next time you go to the grocery store, notice how you select your produce. Are you turned off by abnormally shaped fruit? Do you overlook unaesthetically appealing vegetables?
Growers know this and often discard misshapen produce, contributing to food waste.
France's third largest supermarket chain Intermarché knows this fact as well. They know that people won't buy perfectly good but strange-looking food. Or will they?
This problem turns out to be one that marketing is able to tackle.
In April, the chain launched a special campaign called "Inglorious Fruits & Vegetables". Stores in the French town of Provins featured a special section for misshapen fruit and veggies sold at 30 percent off the regular price.
The print, radio, and poster campaign celebrated the Grotesque Apple, the Hideous Orange, the Failed Lemon, the Disfigured Eggplant, the Ugly Carrot, and the Unfortunate Clementine.
It turned out to be a success: the stores reported a 60 percent increase in traffic to the retailer’s fruit and vegetables section and a 24 percent boost in overall store traffic. The company is considering launching the program nationwide in its stores.
It's a humorous and creative solution to a very real problem.
It's one that perhaps Canadian stores should consider implementing.
According to David Suzuki, over 30 percent of fruits and vegetables don't even make it into stores in North America because they're not "pretty" enough for consumers.