Loblaws sells ugly fruit at a discount to curb food waste

Loblaws sells ugly fruit at a discount to curb food waste

The Star (March 12) - Ugly and disfigured fruit and vegetables are now getting their turn in the supermarket spotlight.

To curb the unnecessary food waste in Canada, Loblaw Companies Ltd. is selling misshapen apples and potatoes at a 30 per cent discount at Real Canadian Superstore and No Frills stores in Ontario and Maxi stores in Quebec.

The unwanted, cast-off produce is being stocked next to its esthetically appealing counterparts — but sold at a more attractive price, Loblaws says.

More than $31 billion worth of food is wasted in Canada every year, according to the Value Chain Management International report published in December.

Loblaws hopes its new campaign, called No Name Naturally Imperfect, will have a three-pronged effect: Lowering the cost of healthy food options for customers, improving revenue returns for struggling famers and combating food waste.

The initiative closely follows similar campaigns launched in other countries since the European Union declared 2014 the year against food waste.

“We often focus too much on the look of the produce rather than the taste,” Ian Gordon, senior vice-president of Loblaw Brands, said.

“Once you peel or cut an apple you can’t tell it once had a blemish or was misshapen,” he said.

Dan Branson, senior director of Loblaw Brands, is overseeing the initiative and said he hopes the apples and potatoes will act as a springboard for other fruit and vegetables.

He hopes to one day roll the campaign out nationwide.

“Whenever you try to do something new and it’s a little bit different you are always wondering how the customers will perceive that,” Branson said.

“At the end of the day we find out if something is successful or not if it sells in our stores.”

Loblaw Companies Limited is Canada’s largest food and pharmacy retailer with more than 2,300 corporate, franchised and associate-owned locations.

Last year, French supermarket Intermarché used a marketing campaign to celebrate the beauty of the “hideous, ugly and failed” fruit and vegetables. Its stores almost sold out of the disfigured produce.

Original Story