Intermarche Inglorious Fruits And Vegetables Case Study

Type of entry: Strategy
Category: Product Launches
Product/Service: INTERMARCHÉ
Agency: MARCEL Paris, FRANCE

Entrant: MARCEL Paris, FRANCE
Type of Entry: Strategy
Category: Product Launches
Entrant Company : MARCEL Paris, FRANCE
Advertising Agency : MARCEL Paris, FRANCE

Advertiser Supervisors: Patricia Chatelain/Sylvie Colé/Mathieu Delcourt/Myrtille Massoubre (Intermarché)
Chief Creative Officer Publicis Worldwide: Erik Vervroegen (Publicis Worldwide)
Chief Creative Officer: Anne De Maupeou (Marcel)
Executive Creative Director: Dimitri Guerassimov (Marcel)
Creative Director: Julien Benmoussa (Marcel)
Copywriters: Julien Benmoussa/Gaëtan Du Peloux/Youri Guerassimov (Marcel)
Copywriter Films: Sergio Alonso (Marcel)
Art Directors: Youri Guerassimov/Gaëtan Du Peloux/Anaïs Boileau (Marcel)
Art Director Films: Sebastian Piacentini (Marcel)
Account Supervisor/Account Manager/Project Manager: Blandine Mercier/Lou De Keyzer/Noëlla Neffati (Marcel)
Strategic Planning: Guillaume Le Gorrec/Leoda Esteve (Marcel)
Production Company: (Prodigious)
Global Print Manager/Art Buyer: Jean Luc Chirio/Soone Riboud (Publicis)
Producer: Justine Beaussart (Prodigious)
Photographer: Patrice De Villiers ()
Retouching: (L’asile Paris)
Production Company: (Indaprod)
Director/Editor: Cédric Dubourg/Yacine Saadi (Marcel)
Editor: Mikael Arslanyan (Prodigious)
Sound Producers: Clémens Hourrière/Boris Jeanne (Prodigious)

Describe the brief from the client:
Each year, we throw over 300 million tons of fruits and vegetables away worldwide. Why? Mainly because of their aspect (57%). As the European Union made 2014 the European year against food waste, Intermarché the 3rd largest supermarkets chain in France, decided to try and change their customers perceptions to encourage better behaviours towards the non-calibrated fruits and vegetables. How? By showing them that though they might by ugly looking, they are as good as any others.

Creative Execution:
Intermarché made every effort to celebrate these “inglorious fruits and vegetables” the way they deserve to be celebrated. They got their own print and film campaign, their own local poster and radio campaign, their own in-store branding, their own aisle in store, their own labelling, and their own spots on the sale receipt. Finally, for people to realize that they were just as good as the others, Intermarché designed and distributed inglorious vegetables soups and inglorious fruit juices in stores.

Creative Solution to the Brief/Objective:
Intermarché launched “the inglorious fruits and vegetables”. A campaign to rehabilitate the imperfect fruits and vegetables by celebrating the beauty of the ridiculous potato, the hideous orange or the failed lemon... For the very first time, a supermarket decided to change the way the system works. Intermarché bought from its growers the products they usually throw away, and sold them in stores just like any others, but 30% cheaper to make it attractive to its consumers.

Our new kind of fruits & vegetables were an immediate success. Intermarché sold 1.2 tons average per store during the first two days and many of them had been sold out before the next replenishment. The in-store traffic increased by 24% overall and the entire fruits and vegetables section benefited from the campaign as the sales grew by 10%. With over 20 print articles, 75 web articles, 3 300 tweets, 3 600 re-tweets, and mentions on national television, the campaign reached over 13 million people in France! This campaign accelerated the change within Intermarché as the offer is to be implemented nationally, and amongst competition, as Intermarché’s two main competitors are now thinking about launching a similar offer.

In Europe, the ugly ducklings of the produce aisle are increasingly admired for their inner swans.

Call it the return of unsightly fruit.

Retailers (at least in Europe and the U.S.) by default now cater to the perfectionist shopper who prefers only the plump, round tomato or the unblemished apple to grace the fruit bowl. But many fruits and vegetables, while edible and nutritious, don't measure up.

That means farmers end up tossing out a huge amount of food that fails to meet retailers' cosmetic standards — in some cases, as much as 20 to 40 percent of fresh produce gets wasted, according to estimates from the United Nations Environment Program.

But the European Union declared 2014 to be the Year Against Food Waste. And earlier this year, French retailer Intermarche, the country's third-largest supermarket, took that initiative viral, launching a cheeky "inglorious fruits and vegetables" campaign to get consumers to see the beauty of ugly produce.

As this video shows, the Intermarche campaign made hideous fruits and veggies the star of the show. In TV commercials and print ads, the supermarket promoted absurd-looking produce like "the grotesque apple," "the failed lemon," "the disfigured eggplant," "the ugly carrot" and the "unfortunate clementine."

The campaign was a temporary experiment in a store in Provins, outside Paris. Intermarche bought up the lumpy and bumpy stuff that would have gotten discarded and gave it its own aisle in the supermarket, selling it at a 30 percent discount. To convince shoppers that looks may have suffered but taste did not, the retailer also sold soups and shakes made with them

That initial campaign, launched in March, was quite successful: Marcel, the creative agency behind Intermarche's campaign, says overall store traffic rose 24 percent. It was so successful, in fact, that Intermarche brought the idea back for a week in October in all of its 1,800 stores, and its competitors in France, Auchan and Monoprix, have launched similar initiatives.

And ugly fruit fever is spreading.

In Portugal, The New York Timesreports, a food cooperative called Fruta Feia (Ugly Fruit) buys up produce too gnarly for supermarkets and sells it to customers attracted both to its lower prices and to its food waste prevention mission. Farmers like the scheme, too — they get extra income instead of adding the ugly ones to the rubbish pile.

In the U.K., "a growing number of supermarkets are preparing to follow the French lead and stock produce that isn't as aesthetically pleasing," market intelligence firm Companies and Markets wrote in a research note.

This summer, Waitrose, a sort of U.K. version of Whole Foods, stocked apples prominently branded as "weather blemished" — the result of extensive damage from hail at its South African farm suppliers. In previous years the retailer has sold imperfect eggplants, carrots and plums.

Other supermarkets are finding different uses for the produce, says Shazia Ejaz of the British Retail Consortium, an industry group.

This summer, U.K. supermarket chain Waitrose stocked apples prominently branded as "weather blemished" — the result of extensive damage from hail at its South African farm suppliers. Courtesy of Waitrose hide caption

toggle caption
Courtesy of Waitrose

This summer, U.K. supermarket chain Waitrose stocked apples prominently branded as "weather blemished" — the result of extensive damage from hail at its South African farm suppliers.

Courtesy of Waitrose

"The key is to make the most of the crop, which all supermarkets are doing," she tells The Salt in an email. "This could be using the best of the crop for bagged or loose produce, but [also] looking for alternative uses for those that don't make the grade — i.e., pre-prepared produce (a growing trend), ready meals and soups."

So what's driving the interest? The European Union relaxed strict rules governing the sale of imperfect fruit in 2009. But Tristram Stuart, a food waste activist with the group Feeding the 5000, says growing consumer awareness was also crucial.

"Supermarkets will cater to what public demand requires," he says. And, he notes, "there are not a lot of environmental measures out there that are going to save you money, but stopping wasting food is one of them."

And consumers will scoop up these tasty uglies when they know the story behind their unfortunate looks, says Waitrose spokesperson Jess Hughes.

"​We always find these products are popular with customers — they always sell well," Hughes tells The Salt via email.

For now, there appear to be limits to just how much imperfection retailers will take.

"The experience of retailers in the U.K. is that customers naturally select, they always pick the cream of the crop," Ejaz says.

And even Intermarche has said its promotion of inglorious produce can only be occasional, as problems with suppliers occur.

Nonetheless, the fever is also making the leap across the pond: In Canada, Safeway is experimenting with "misfit produce" displays. And your local U.S. farmers market might just have "seconds" of peaches, tomatoes or apples for sale. Stay tuned: Plenty of activists stateside are hoping to bring ugly fruit to a supermarket or CSA near you soon.

0 thoughts on “Intermarche Inglorious Fruits And Vegetables Case Study

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *