Selling ugly produce has had beautiful results for IGA store in Quebec.
Following the success of the first edition and at the request of shoppers, Sobeys Quebec has brought back its program to sell odd-looking fruit and vegetables for the second year.
IGA and its grocers will offer six product varieties in each of their supermarkets throughout the province and at IGA.net, priced at about 30% less than regular produce. For six weeks beginning Aug. 11, a half-dozen varieties of odd-looking fruits and vegetables will be sold in the produce sections of all Quebec IGA stores.
Varieties include cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes, beets, peppers and onions.
“IGA is always listening to consumers,” says Marie-Noëlle Cano, director, public Affairs and sustainability at Sobeys Québec. “This initiative is a response to requests from many Quebecers who want to make responsible choices by purchasing fruit and vegetables that are locally grown, less perfect-looking, but every bit as good.
According to a Sobeys Quebec press release, consumers snapped up 3.6 tonnes of six varieties of so-called ugly produce over a six-week period in Aug. and Sept last summer.
Overall sales for the sad-sack fruit and vegetables were up 24% for the same six-week period
Sales of misshapen beets, which are traditionally among the least popular produce items, were up a whopping 91 percent.
Carrot sales were also up (31%), as were tomatoes (20%), peppers (14%) and cucumbers (7%).
An offshoot of IGA’s year-old Joy of Eating Better program, which aims to both inspire and encourage Quebeckers to eat healthier by making responsible food choices and cooking more, the program offers people reasons to love less-than-perfect produce.
The grocer recommends stocking up produce for the fall. It also notes all products involved with the program are Quebec-grown, and have the same taste as standard produce as well as the same nutritional value.