Taking a Second Look at the Produce
While the standard of perfection is a bar that is higher in France than it is for other countries, it does have its limitations, especially lately. Today, fruit and vegetable stands in Paris and beyond are showcasing round and perfect oranges and apples as well as their less-than-substantial counterparts.
Image from Ugly Fruits
At the Auchan market in Vélizy, the stall-holder of the imperfect specimens says the produce may not meet with Mother Nature’s standards of beauty but adds that the food is better-tasting than the picture-perfect produce that is on display. He adds that he sells about 70 boxes of the gnarled and crooked fruit each day, all which underscores his point in this respect. The large Auchan supermarket chain in France is not trying to capitalize on imperfect produce. It merely says that it’s trying to support a good cause.
The Intermarché Campaign
A spokesman for the chain said that selling the less-than-hardy looking fruits and veggies helps area farmers in the process. Economic woes in the farming community make selling pretty and not-so-pretty produce a priority. The first market to support the selling of ugly produce was Intermarché, which initially launched a campaign in the spring of the year, selling its seconds for thirty percent off the price of their well-heeled cousins. Check out their video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2nSECWq_PE
The Launch of a New Brand
An ugly fruit brand was also initiated, called Les Gueules Cassées, which, translated in English, means “busted faces.” The name references the facial injuries that were suffered by soldiers in the Second World War. The brand is currently supported by a farming network across the south and western part of France – a network that also serves the Auchan, Monoprix and Leclerc chains of food stores.
Nutrition Hangs in the Balance
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN states that 30% of the vegetables and fruits that are produced do not end up on consumer’s plates. Therefore, selling imperfect produce seems like a sensible thing to do. While customer satisfaction is behind the selling of perfectly shaped fruits and veggies, cost and waste must be factored into the economic equation as well.
No Better Time
Selling imperfect produce could not have come at a more opportune time as 2014 is the year that marks Europe’s commitment to avoiding food waste. It finally seems that French marketers have taken a reality check.