Reducing food waste: beautiful work for ugly fruit and veggies

The world loses or wastes one-quarter to one-third of all food produced for human consumption according to the estimates of the FAO and World Resources Institute. However it’s not only a waste of food. There are nearly one billion malnourished people in the world that would no longer be hungry with the 40% million tonnes of food waste by US households, retailers, and food services each year.

Besides we didn’t even mention the irrigation water to grow food at 200 litres per person per day that is wasted, the 10% of developed countries greenhouse gas emissions coming from food that is never eaten, or the occupied land currently used to grow unnecessary surplus and wasted food.

All this could be avoided on less than a quarter of the food that is wasted in the US, UK and Europe. A great number comes from stores discarding produce that doesn’t fit the standards of food beauty. But the third biggest supermarket in France, Intermarché, came up with a bright idea on how to get people to buy, and actually look for those ‘ugly’ fruits and veggies.

A few months ago they’ve launched their campaign called “les fruits et légumes moches”, or in English, the inglorious fruits and vegetables. We love this campaign, its beautifully designed ads, great PR, and the impressing results. Check out the video below for the full explanation, and let us know what you think.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2nSECWq_PE&feature=youtu.be


Black Friday: because shopping is fun, but should it be greener?

In Europe we look with wonder at the millions of Americans who line up in front of Walmart to get their hands on a good bargain the moment grandpa puts down his fork after a convivial turkey dinner. ‘Black Friday’, the day after Thanksgiving, marks the official start of the holiday shopping season in the United States. Retailers use the hype created around the tradition by offering appealing discounts that move consumers to camp outside of stores waiting for the early openings. This year, the National Retail Federation estimates 147 million Americans will start their holiday shopping during the Black Friday weekend, boosting sales of retailers who hope to clime out the red numbers into the black.

So what exactly is moving American consumers to give up their precious night’s sleep and spend hours on end queuing up to spare a few bucks? Fact is that for many, bargain hunting the day after is just as much of a tradition as the turkey and pumpkin pie on the night before. The rush of finding that two-for-one and being able to give your family members that extra special present under the Christmas tree can be a truly satisfying experience.

However, not everyone is thrilled about the exorbitant expression of American consumerism that heralds the holiday season every year. Reoccurring stories about fights and stampedes of frenzied shoppers have led to a somewhat tainted reputation of the tradition. In recent years, retailers themselves have become the cause of resentment due to their decision to move up opening times to 9 and even 8 p.m. on Thursday, nibbling their way into the sanctity of Thanksgiving Eve. Both employees and families are starting to grow weary of the relentless efforts of retailers to maximize their profits at the cost of family tradition.

The upside to all this fuss is that an increasing number of citizens and companies are seizing the discussion about Black Friday as an opportunity to push for positive change. Last year, Patagonia published their surprising and inspiring “Don’t Buy This Jacket” ad on Black Friday, encouraging consumers to think about the environmental impact of their behavior. This year, too, the call to use Black Friday as a moment to vote with your money and choose for sustainable alternatives is growing louder.

That definitely sounds good to us. Almost as good as a slice of pumpkin pie.

Written by Leontine Gast and Jacobien Crol