Waste Not. Want More.

U.S. grocers should take note of a new initiative from “across the pond.”

France’s third largest retail chain, Intermarché, recently launched a new campaign combating food waste. As part of the European Union’s efforts this year to address the subject, the supermarket has successfully taken on a pressing social and environmental issue, while increasing their profits and in store visits.

The campaign combats the large-scale, socially acceptable practice of retailers and growers avoiding the sale of aesthetically displeasing fruits and vegetables. Despite having no issues regarding taste or quality, huge amounts of perfectly good food is being tossed. An awful thought, especially when considered alongside another prevalent issue, world hunger.

Intermarché encourages shoppers to give this imperfect produce a chance, via their “Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables” department. The biggest incentive being these items are sold at roughly a 30% discount. Interestingly, this indirectly challenges another issue – health, specifically the practice of not eating fresh fruits and vegetables due to the perception it’s expensive.

The department received a full and separate branding initiative, taking the project from a good cause to good creative. And Intermarché took the experience a step further.

After all, customer expectation for visually pleasing produce is the reason supermarkets avoid selling ugly fruits and vegetables in the first place. So how did they convince shoppers to try a deformed apple or misshapen carrot? By offering juice and soup samples of the products to exemplify that less than ideal form does not interfere with taste.

This campaign isn’t just smart and paradoxically attractive – it’s a testament to the potential to better our planet through small shifts in perspective. It certainly earned the social and media attention it has garnered, as well as the staggering early success figures – 1.2 tons average sales per store during the first two days and a 24% overall store traffic increase.

Learn more about Theory House and our perspective on retail at www.theoryhouse.com


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