To Fight Waste, This Former Retail Executive Sells Baskets Of “Ugly Vegetables”

To Fight Waste, This Former Retail Executive Sells Baskets Of "Ugly Vegetables"

Karim Vincent Viry launched his first “anti-waste” baskets in November 2021. Karim Vicente Viry

FIGARO TOMORROW – Karim Vincent-Viry launched his anti-waste basket business in Brittany a year ago. The entrepreneur wants to settle in Île-de-France at the beginning of the school year.

The problem with mass distribution is that it has specifications to select the products.» explains Karim Vincent-Viry from the beginning. And this Breton, who has been in the sector for more than 25 years, knows what he is talking about. A year ago, the former director of purchases settled on his account and sells baskets of “ugly vegetables» rejected by the big brands.

It was in October 2021 that the rescue operation of the “ugly vegetablesbegins for Karim Vincent-Viry: “ At that time, in front of my office, there was a station where old vegetables were sorted. In October 2021 it was parsnipsthat fell every second and went to the cows or the garbage cans“, remember. The seller decidesfor onceLet’s see why so many parsnips are thrown away:I expected to see crooked for example“, he says, before specifying, still surprised: “but in truth they were too small and crooked.“A classification that is not accidental but that comes from our consumption habits:” consumers judge with their eyes, which is why the famous specifications are very strict. In Saint-Pol-de-Léon alone, where I worked, ten truckloads of vegetables are thrown away every day“, informs Karim Vincent-Viry.

It was on the “Too good to go” app that Karim Vincent-Viry first offered his “anti-waste” baskets. Karim Vicente Viry

The former vendor then decides to recover the vegetables rejected during sorting and, in his garage, prepares around fifty baskets “anti-waste“. He registers in the “To good to go” application and sells these baskets, made up of 3 to 5 kilos of vegetables, at the unbeatable price of 5 euros: “ It was November 14, 2021, I was delivering with my own truck and from day one I sold everything. The next day, I went to 150 baskets.“To gain notoriety, the father does not hesitate to receive help in communication from his 15-year-old daughter:” I called my business Finistesrestes and it was my daughter who created an Instagram account for me and Facebook let me know“, he laughs. He quickly perpetuated the experience by partnering with local growers to bring the vegetables back.”ugly» and extends its offer to Morlaix, Brest and finally to all of Brittany.

“It would have started 20 years ago, it would never have worked”

The former vendor then transformed his business into a “private cooperative”, whose model was based on very low operating costs: “ In the price of the basket we impact our operating margin between 5 and 10% but this is low. We do a lot of recovery, for example for boxes.“says Karim Vincent-Viry. Due to this model, the entrepreneur must not make a profit but operate in balance, which he recently managed to do: “ Now we have 50 relay points with 50 to 100 clients per day in these places alone and 17 million visits in To good to go “, the Report.

Karim Vincent-Viry is now hiring part-time CDIs to prepare vegetable baskets. Karim Vicente Viry

A success in less than a year that, according to him, comes from a change of mentality: “ It would have started 20 years ago, it would never have worked. “, he assures, considering that the way of doing trading has also evolved: “ Before, to be successful, you had to have a store, take the time to create a clientele. Today, with a van, social networks and applications like To good to go, we can start“. Now it has enough income to rent some warehouses and recruit people”precarious» with an indefinite part-time contract. And in medium-sized towns, the entrepreneur has found another solution: I team up with a struggling merchant and his shop becomes a drop off point where he sells my baskets.“.

We are the little unicorn of vegetable sales»

Karim Vincent-Viry continues to expand its offer and has added baskets, anti-waste trays for apples and even fish: “ I have a friend who is part of the Vives Eaux group and we have teamed up. The group makes small bags of unsold fish fillets, which we redistribute and sell“, details. The businessman now wants to launch a package”anti-waste meatat the start of the school year, in partnership with a company called Fresh opp.

In addition, the Breton now has other horizons in mind and wants to perpetuate his desire to sell”ugly vegetablesand other discarded products… in Île-de-France. “ There will be an impact on the prices of our baskets from €1 to €150 perhaps, but if not, we will rent small warehouses on the outskirts and make sure we don’t increase our prices further.“, emphasizes Karim Vincent Viry. The ex-seller rarely stops and acknowledges that he used to make a better living. However, he does not regret having started: “I recently turned 50 and longed to help on my own small scale. Plus, it makes my daughter proud, so it makes me want to keep going.smiles, the one who likes to say that his cooperative is a bit the little vegetable unicorn“.

SEE ALSO – Food waste, extreme stress: Jérôme Anthony and Merouan Bounekraf reveal behind the scenes of “Chefs à domicile”

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