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Re-Belle jams : an ethical project against food waste

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Here is a very nice project we discovered at SIAL 2016 : jams made from fruits and vegatables that were removed from the shelves and that should have thrown into the bin. It can be seen as the extension of trend that emerged in 2014 when Intermarché started selling “ugly fruits and vegetables”, i.e. fruits and vegetables that couldn’t be sold because of their aspect and lack of conformity to the standard of the retail industry. This trend still exists and from 25 October until 6 November Intermarché will be selling cans of ugly beans and carots in its stores.

The Re-Belle and Disco Soupe projects

The Re-Belle jams project was initiated by Colette Rapp who is also involved in Disco Soupe. Disco Soupe is a grass-roots movement that aims at raising awareness on food waste, and decrease it through the use of unsold vegetables and fruits which otherwise would have been thrown away.
The Disco Soupe mouvement was born in Paris in March 2012 and has spread to several other countries where people gather, cook unsold vegetables and fruits together, and redistribute meals to fellow citizens.

In this model however the actions are initiated by individuals and are therefore dependent on them. As a consequence the Disco Soupes are not regularly planned and a sustainable model based on the reuse of unsold fruits and vegetables can’t emerge. That’s probably the gap that Re-Belle jams want to fill. Moreover, collecting, sorting and re-using fruits and vegetables allows to create jobs for the less qualified.

The Re-Belle jams

The jams are being produced by a caterer (Baluchon) which exploits the Re-Belle trademark. On a weekly basis 300kg of fruits and vegetables are collected and 75% of them are “saved”.
The jams are cooked in a former school kitchen and sold through 15 independant stores in Paris and 20 Monoprix stores (see list here).

Our take

This project is a really beautiful initiative. It would deserve however a better marketing, especially as far as selling in supermarkets is concerned. in a supermarket the consumer makes decision in a fraction of second and everything is based on the label. The unique selling point (USP) therefore needs to be extremely clear for the consumer, which is not the case here. If you look only at the label what you’ll see is yet another jam. Re-Belle forgot to put forward what makes them different and so valuable : the taste of course (remember that pleasure is the criteria of choice number 1 and a major predictor of customer satisfaction and retention) and the ethical aspects of the project.

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Author: Pierre-Nicolas Schwab

Pierre-Nicolas est Docteur en Marketing et dirige l'agence d'études de marché IntoTheMinds. Ses domaines de prédilection sont le BigData l'e-commerce, le commerce de proximité, l'HoReCa et la logistique. Il est également chercheur en marketing à l'Université Libre de Bruxelles et sert de coach et formateur à plusieurs organisations et institutions publiques. Il peut être contacté par email, Linkedin ou par téléphone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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