Inspiration Projects

Intermarché: Fight Against Food Waste

Maker: Intermarché

Challenge: According to FAO,  approximately 1.3 billion tonnes of the food produced in the world for human consumption is wasted each year—and most of it is fruits and vegetables.

Such waste not only adds up to a giant economic loss (about US$ 680 billion in industrialized nations, and US$ 310 billion in developing nations according to FAO). It also amounts to a major waste of natural resources, including water, land, and energy.

One of the major culprits behind the problem is the prevailing industry standard governing the appearance of the fruits and vegetables we find on supermarket shelves. A standard which is steered by consumer behavior: If a tomato is not the right shape, size, and color, consumers won’t buy.

Solution: Intent on fighting the food waste attributed to imperfect fruits and vegetables, Intermarché, a large supermarket chain in France, decided to sell “inglorious fruits and vegetables” at a 30% discount in their stores. As part of this, they launched a global marketing campaign to raise awareness and get customers to buy the produce.

Results: The campaign was a success. The same quality produce was made accessible to consumers at a cheaper price, growers received compensation for produce that is normally thrown away, and Intermarché increased business with 1.2 tons sold on average in the first two days. The campaign also increased overall awareness of the issue of imperfect produce waste. An estimated 21 million people were reached by the national campaign in only one month, and five other supermarket chains followed suit and launched similar offers (source).

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