When buying produce at the grocery store, many of us favor the shiny apples and perfectly round tomatoes over the fruits and vegetables with unsightly dents or weird coloring. But just because they look pretty doesn’t mean they taste any better than their less-than-perfect shelf-mates. Still, American grocery stores know what their customers want, and according to a 2011 paper published in The Journal of Consumer Affairs, ultimately waste about $15 billion worth of produce every year [PDF]. In the U.S., perishables account for 80% of all food waste from retailers.
In the European Union, 660,000 pounds of food are thrown away every year, and in France, the deformed produce makes up 40% of the country’s food waste. Now, one supermarket chain is trying to change that. “Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables," an ad campaign from the French grocery chain Intermarché, is dressing up funky-looking fruits and veggies to convince customers that they’re just as worthy of being bought and eaten. The posters and TV ads feature the “ugly” produce in well-lit photographs alongside clever copy like “The failed lemon. From the creator of the lemon,” and “The ridiculous potato. Elected Miss Mashed Potato 2014.”
Customers have taken to the new campaign, and a year in, the “ugly” foods’ popularity has led Intermarché to selling sad-looking produce at all of the company’s 1800 stores.
[h/t New York Times]