INGLORIOUS FOOD CATCHES ON WITH CONSUMERS WHO DEMAND CHANGE FROM BRANDS

Earlier in the year, we wrote a blog about the growing popularity of ugly food.

Seems the campaign is catching on around the world as consumers join pressure groups to stop food waste and keep food natural.

One hugely successful campaign to promote ugly food has been run by French supermarket chain Intermarche. Their “Inglorious Fruit and Vegetables” promises 30% discounts for buyers of ugly food, in a bid to tackle the estimated 300 million tons of food thrown away in Europe each year.

To help them get their point across, Intermarche teamed up with French ad agency Marcel to produce a series of posters emphasising that grotesque is best. The posters included images of the grotesque apple, the hideous orange, the failed lemon and the disfigured eggplant.

Interestingly, despite the success of such campaigns companies in Europe and the US are keeping clear of the word ugly, trying to coin more offbeat terms for formerly unloved food. UK chain ASDA, for example, uses the term “wonky” food, while Canada’s Loblaws uses “naturally imperfect.

Popular chef Jamie Oliver has become the de facto figurehead of the “good food movement” in the UK and Australia, encouraging supermarket chains to support him.

But there’s more to ugly food than just food waste. In these media savvy days of Twitter and Facebook, the public are now wising up to what companies are promoting and selling them. 

In the US a campaign called “what the fork” (www.change.org/p/whatthefork) is running an active awareness campaign on Twitter and Facebook and petitioning Walmart to stop food wastage and embrace ugly food.

And with such social media campaigns, customers are starting to question big companies directly about products and services. It’s back to trust.

Those companies that respondon Twitter and Facebook, answer queries, and talk to customers about problems will be the ones that customers turn to again and again. Those that ignore the new medium of trust will suffer the consequences – and the public backlash.

Many big brands have long considered their success, history and size as a certainty. A given. Well that’s all changed.

We’re witnessing a sea change in the perception of trust and distrust. Marketing and PR no longer solves the problem of trust. It’s now one-on-one with your customers – and the new brands are winning the trust game, while established brands like Intermarche are starting to wise up.

In our trust analysis studies we see that new brands score higher on the critical development, vision and relationship trust drivers. For large and established brands a little packaging rejig or acquiring the new brands won't do. It needs a rethink of what they need to be trusted for - at a corporate and brand level.