Grocery stores are filled with bright, beautiful displays of perfect produce for a reason: people like to purchase food that looks good. Misshapen or slightly bruised fruits and veggies usually gets tossed, resulting in enormous amounts of waste. To curb this practice, the Ugly Food Movement was developed to highlight the nutritious and affordable allure of less-than-perfect-looking fruits and vegetables.
In 2014, the European Union announced its plan for the Year Against Food Waste, and supermarkets began promoting the "ugly food." Intermarche, one of France's largest food retailers, billed the misshapen produce as "inglorious fruits and vegetables" and sold them at a discounted price to encourage consumers to try the produce that they would normally disregard.
Many European grocery stores previously had strict standards for all produce, including what percentage of an asparagus spear should be green, or how curved a sellable cucumber could be. This resulted in up to 40 percent of produce being deemed as unfit for grocery stores.
Some grocers remained hesitant to focus marketing efforts on what many consumers still considered to be less than desirable produce, but in addition to France, "ugly food" promotions took off in Britain, as well as in parts of Australia and Canada.