As It Happens

Ugly vegetables take root in France's supermarkets

Lots of produce never makes it to market, simply because it doesn't look "right". But a movement is gaining steam to recognize the outcasts: the carrot that looks strangely like a hand; the asymmetric apple; the pepper that looks like a face. Some grocery store chains in France have started to offer deformed produce at a discount....
Lots of produce never makes it to market, simply because it doesn't look "right". But a movement is gaining steam to recognize the outcasts: the carrot that looks strangely like a hand; the asymmetric apple; the pepper that looks like a face. Some grocery store chains in France have started to offer deformed produce at a discount.


veg side.jpg Laurent Chabanne is the co-founder of " Les Gueules Cassées," a supplier of aesthetically-challenged produce to several French chains. 

He tells Carol that the time was right for the initiative because of the financial crisis in Europe. For a 30% discount, people were ready to take a chance on produce that would have been tossed because it didn't meet aesthetic norms.

Chabanne believes that consumer demand for standards and consistency was behind the move to pretty and normal-looking produce.


The name Les Gueules Cassées is the term used to describe those who had been disfigured in the two World Wars. It translates as "Broken face." Chabanne says he thinks of the term as describing one who may be disfigured on the outside, but is beautiful inside.

Chabanne says people continue to send him photographs of unusual produce they've encountered.


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