Inglorious: Far from the original subsistence community of yonder years, today’s society is characterized by food wastage beyond irreparable measures. Unlike the original society that only survived on resources needed, today’s society has embarked on a mission to ensure an environment of food security. However, this effort has resulted in food wastage (Calvo-Porral, Medín & Losada-López, 2017). Annually, the global community wastes close to a third of the food produced. The wasted food is approximately 1.3 million tons in weight and amounts to six hundred and eighty billion US dollars by developed countries’ standards. According to the standards of the developing countries, the lost food costs almost three hundred million and ten billion US dollars. From these figures, it is, therefore, clear that there is a significant loss in global food production not to say the global economic state (Calvo-Porral, Medín & Losada-López, 2017). Consequently, a French-owned grocer, Intermarche, launched the “inglorious foods and vegetables” campaign in 2014 to curb the rampant cases of food wastage in France as well as the rest of Europe. This ingenious CSR initiative by Intermarche managed to capture the attention of many people shopping for groceries who by the incentives of the campaign chose to buy the less attractive groceries.
Currently, every country in the world reports a significant loss in the food produced annually. The loss is attributed to the fact that many consumers of groceries prefer to buy/consume produce that is physically attractive (Elsen, van Giesen & Leenheer, 2015). This means that any product that does not please the eye of the consumer (even though it might be in perfect nutritional condition) receives less attention from the customers. In 2014, the third largest supermarket in France, Intermarche began “The Inglorious Vegetables and Fruits” campaign (Puiu, 2016). The initiative was meant to fight against the rampant cases of food wastage in France as well as other European nations.
The initiative was characterized by posters of fresh products such as carrots, cucumbers, and lemons, that had an unappealing physical shape. These products, however, did have the same nutritional value as other appealing products (Elsen, van Giesen & Leenheer, 2015). For instance, in a poster containing a picture of an imperfect carrot (prong-shaped), the catchphrase was “The Ugly Carrot, But in Soup Who Cares?” The same catchphrase was used on other posters containing different types of imperfect produce.
The other step of the initiative was the high publicity and advertising of the inglorious produce. The campaign was marked by several TV advertisements in several global TV stations. Intermarche used its social media platforms to advertise the campaign to its customers (Carroll, 2015). All these steps were meant to uplift the so-called imperfect foods and make the world population view them as useful produce. To glorify these imperfect specimens the company also rebranded all its affiliated stores to the “Inglorious Stores.” These stores were rebranded in every aspect starting from their ceilings to their floors (Cheng, Ioannou & Serafeim, 2014). In addition to these adjustments, the company gave a thirty percent discount on all produce dubbed inglorious or imperfect. Further, the organization gave out free samples such as soups and fresh juices made from the inglorious produce to customers.
Sustainability of the Initiative
The sustainability of this initiative was ensured by the constant advertisements made by the company about inglorious vegetables and fruits. Through the use of different advertisement forms, Intermarche succeeded in influencing the decision-making approaches of consumers as well as fresh-produce producers (Cheng, Ioannou & Serafeim, 2014). For instance, producers of these foods were highly encouraged that any imperfect produce would be feasible to customers once they hit the market. Before the campaign, most producers experienced severe losses since many buyers were disinterested in the purchase of any groceries that appeared imperfect (Neff, Kanter & Vandevijvere, 2015). This disinterest was a result of consumer bias against the purchase of fruits or vegetables that appeared physically imperfect.
The pre-existing notion was that such produce lacks the primary nutritional value found in perfect produce. Further, it was assumed that flawed produce is damaged- an ill-advised form of thinking (Neff, Kanter & Vandevijvere, 2015). However, with the inception of the initiative, people in France and the rest of the world (mainly European countries) realized that defective vegetables and fruits are equally delicious and nutritious as the physically perfect produce. Since Intermarche announced a thirty percent waiver on the price of all inglorious foods and vegetables, consumers preferred purchasing these products compared to perfect fruits and vegetables. The customers were convinced that the inglorious produce was equally good as the perfect produce and cheaper. Thus, they preferred purchasing the said items.
Actions Required to Implement the Initiative
All CSR initiatives require intensive advertisement and publicity in to realize success. The publicity is meant to inform the public about the importance of the initiative as well as the goals of the CSR (O’Kane, 2016). Without public knowledge on how the CSR campaign works, the initiative might fail. Therefore, business strategists advise that before the initiation of any CSR, the company should carry out several publicizing activities to sensitize the public. Intermarche was no different from other companies in trying to implement a new CSR initiative. The organization first took to international TV stations to air the adverts about the “inglorious vegetables and fruits” campaign. The advertisements on the TVs covered the various misconceptions that shoppers had towards fresh-produce particularly vegetables and fruits that were not physically attractive.
To implement the initiative, the organization also rebranded its stores as well as affiliated outlets. The rebranding was meant to sensitize the shoppers/public about the ongoing campaign to reduce the amount of food wasted in France as well as the rest of the world (Cao, 2017). The stores were branded with posters of the dubbed “inglorious” fruits or vegetables for all customers to view. The posters were positioned in strategic positions inside and outside Intermarche stores so that they caught the eye of any person inside and outside the store. More so, the posters used in the campaign used catchy slogans/phrasings that caught the attention of the intended audience (Cao, 2017). For instance, one of the posters containing an irregular carrot had the slogan “The Ugly Carrot, But in Soup Who Cares?” as the main phrasing in the entire poster. Lastly, the company gave a thirty percent off on all “inglorious” produce to entice customers to purchase.
Barriers to Implementation
One of the barriers to this campaign was illiteracy. Some people did not understand the gist of the campaign. While some people understood that the main idea behind the campaign was to reduce the amount of food wasted in France, and globally, some thought that it was a ploy by the company to boost its sales (Richards & Devin, 2016). Due to the rampant rise of consumerism in the global economy, some consumers were not convinced that the purchase of these inglorious fruits and vegetables was comparable to perfect produce. As such, the consumers stuck to the purchase of the outstanding fruits and vegetables. The fact that the inglorious produce was given a 30% discount pushed some of these customers into thinking that the inglorious fruits and vegetables were of lower quality.
Solutions to These Barriers
To overcome these barriers, one of the possible solutions was to adjust the phrases used in the adverts to include and influence a larger crowd. The advertisements should include more scientific facts pertaining to food wastage (Cao, 2017). These facts would help more consumers realize that the purchase of imperfect produce helps reduce the food wastage significantly. Additionally, the company may decide to reduce the discount accorded to the inglorious produce so that customers can trust in their quality nutritional-wise.
The global food
wastage is an all-time high, and,
therefore, more initiatives need to be put in place to curb food wastage. “The
inglorious vegetables and fruits” campaign is an exemplary illustration of such
initiatives. By the implementation of this strategy, Intermarche garnered
convinced consumers that imperfect produce is equally good as perfect produce,
the only difference is the physical appearance. As in any successful CSR
initiative, Intermarche succeeded in its campaign by employing various forms of marketing as well as public
Cao, X. (2017). Corporate Social Responsibility. In Fair Development in China (pp. 119-134). Springer International Publishing.
Carroll, A.B. (2015). Corporate social responsibility. Organizational dynamics, 44(2), pp.87-96. Cheng, B., Ioannou, I. & Serafeim, G. (2014). Corporate social responsibility and access to finance. Strategic Management Journal, 35(1), pp.1-23.
Elsen, M., van Giesen, R., & Leenheer, J. (2015). Milan BExpo 2015: A behavioural study on food choices and eating habits. Produced by Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency (Chafea) on behalf of Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers. Brussels, Belgium (Specific Contract n 2014 85 09). Available online at https://publications. europa. eu/en.
Neff, R. A., Kanter, R., & Vandevijvere, S. (2015). Reducing food loss and waste while improving the public’s health. Health affairs, 34(11), 1821-1829. https://doi.org/10.1377/hlthaff.2015.0647
O’Kane, G. (2016). A moveable feast: Exploring barriers and enablers to food citizenship. Appetite, 105, 674-687. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2016.07.002
Richards, C., & Devin, B. (2016). Powerful supermarkets push the cost of food waste onto suppliers, charities. The Conversation, (29). Retrieved from http://eprints.qut.edu.au/97922/1/__qut.edu.au_Documents_StaffHome_staffgroupR$_ridge_Documents_Powerful%20supermarkets%20push%20the%20cost%20of%20food%20waste%20onto%20suppliers,%20charities.pdf
Puiu, T. (2016). Give ugly veggies and fruits a second chance – they’re just as tasty. Retrieved from https://www.zmescience.com/other/videos/give-ugly-veggies-fruits-second-chance-theyre-just-tasty/