The Failed Lemon: French supermarket turns ugly fruit to hero

Ever done your weekend shopping at a grocery shop and found you have picked up an awkwardly shaped or ill-proportioned fruit?


I reckon you would do the same as most of the others - putting it down straight away and look for a better looking one.


Do you know 30% and 50% or 1.2-2bn tonnes of food produced around the world never makes it on to a plate every year?   We are not only talking about the leftover from your dinner table, instead, the wastage starts as early as on the farm, where fruit and vegetables are rejected for cosmetic reason. Retailers also reject 20-40% fresh produce because it fails to meet their tough cosmetic standards. 


In France, its 3rd largest supermarket - Intermarche - launched a campaign called “Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables" to turn these unwanted produce into a solution for cutting food waste.  


The supermarket purchased fruit and vegetable that are usually discarded for purely cosmetic reason, and offered them at 30% off of the normal price to customers.  They also introduced a new juice and soup product line from these "ill' produce. 


They created a series of advertisements putting these deformed and funny looking outliners under the spotlight. 

The campaign has been a great success for Intermarche. WiIthin the first month of the campaign, it reached over 13 million people and stirred a national conversation about food waste. It starts changing customer's perception on the level of perfectness that they usually seek for, and put pressure on their competitors to follow the same practice.


The campaign highlighted these cosmetically imperfect food is not just edible but valuable.


It is great to see how a business solution can also be a solution for the environment.