By KAREN BARROW
June 24, 2015
Not all carrots look alike, but you wouldn’t know it from scanning the shelves of your local supermarket.
Supermarket chains often display only the most perfectly shaped apples, potatoes and other produce for their shoppers. The rest may get cooked for the store’s prepared foods or, more often, tossed out with the garbage.
“Most consumers buy their fresh products based on aesthetic criteria: If the product looks good, then it must taste good,” said Patrice DeVilliers, the photographer of a campaign by Marcel Worldwide that is changing the way French consumers view unattractive produce. Last year, these “ugly” fruits and vegetables accounted for 40 percent of France’s total food waste, according to Ms. DeVillers. “Fruits and vegetables are suffering from unjustified aesthetic prejudice,” she said.
The “Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables” campaign was created for Intermarché, a supermarket chain in France, to see if customers would be willing to buy imperfect produce at a reduced price. The advertising campaign includes posters and television ads, including the one below in which an “Ugly Carrot” gets a pep talk. The goal was to reduce the more than 603,835,616 pounds of food wasted in the European Union each day.
It has been a year since this campaign was implemented, and the misshapen apples, potatoes and lemons were so popular with customers that “inglorious” produce is now being offered in all 1,800 Intermarché stores.
“These fruits and vegetables might be ugly, but they are as tasty as visually perfect ones,” said Ms. DeVilliers.