“Ugly” fruit and vegetables in France, just a marketing ploy?

The retail sector is currently promoting “ugly” fruit and vegetables by showing them off on the shelves and aiming to fight against food wastage. Is this really a fight against wasting food or is it merely commercial ?
Be it on advertising panels, on television, on show in super and hypermarkets; a special place is being given to these fruits and vegetables - and we can’t confuse them with the more aesthetic products which are sold at a higher price.

The idea originated both from supermarkets themselves, as well as groups of producers with the “Quoi ma gueule” (What’s wrong with my looks?) campaign. The aim was to give them the place that “they deserve on our shelves so that they are not pushed aside from retail circuits”. 

The idea of fighting against wasting food appeals to consumers. Yet the appeal is not unanimous with producers who see this as a simple marketing ploy created by the retailers. To begin with Henri Mazenod, fruit producer at Saint-Paul-en-Jarez and President of the Fruit Sector in the Loire Chamber of Agriculture, says that “it is not on the producers side that the wastage is that important. We have many distribution circuits to which we sell our uncalibrated products for large retailers. Many producers sell from the farm, or at markets, where the sales of second choice products has always existed. We also sell our fruit for processing (fruit juices, soups, ready meals etc.) to the agri food industry, for whom the aesthetic aspect has no importance. As for the rest, for products unsuitable for human consumption, we put them back in the orchard to make humus”.

Besides not finding the wasting argument pertinent, Henri Mazenod fears that these campaigns will bring down prices of fruits and vegetables, “with 2nd choice products even cheaper, aren’t we risking bringing the prices down even further?”

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