To fight against waste, this former retail executive sells baskets of “ugly vegetables”

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

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

The problem with mass distribution is that it has specifications for selecting the products», Explains Karim Vincent-Viry from the start. And this Breton, who has worked for more than 25 years in the sector, knows what he is talking about. A year ago, the former purchasing director set up on his own and sells baskets of “ugly vegetables» refused by the big brands.

It was in October 2021 that the rescue operation of the “ugly vegetablesbegins for Karim Vincent-Viry: “ At the time, in front of my office, there was a station in which old vegetables were sorted. In October 2021 it was parsnipswho fell every second and left for the cows or the trash cans“, he recalls. The salesperson decides,for onceto see why so many parsnips are thrown away:I expected to see crooked ones for example“, he says, before specifying, still surprised: “but in truth they were just too small and crooked.“A sorting that is not by chance but comes from our consumption habits:” consumers judge with their eyes, so the famous specifications are very strict. In Saint-Pol-de-Léon alone, where I worked, ten truckloads of vegetables are thrown away a day“, reports Karim Vincent-Viry.

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

The former salesman then decides to recover the vegetables refused during sorting and, in his garage, prepares about fifty baskets “anti-waste“. He registers on the “To good to go” application and sells said 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 van and from day one I sold everything. The next day, I went to 150 baskets.“To gain notoriety, the father does not hesitate to get 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 to let me know“, he laughs. Quickly, he perpetuated the experience by teaming up with local producers to recover the vegetables “ugly» and extends its offer to Morlaix, Brest and finally all of Brittany.

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

The former salesperson 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. Because of this model, the entrepreneur must not make profits but operate in equilibrium, which he recently managed to do: “ We now have 50 relay points with 50 to 100 customers a day in these places alone and 17 million views on To good to go “, he reports.

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

A success in less than a year which, according to him, comes from a change of mentality: “ I would have started 20 years ago, it would never have worked “, he assures, considering that the way of trading has also evolved: “ before, to succeed, 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“. He now has enough yield to rent a few warehouses and recruit people “precarious» on a part-time permanent contract. And in medium-sized towns, the entrepreneur has found another solution: I partner with a merchant in difficulty and his shop becomes a drop-off point where he sells my baskets“.

We are the little unicorn of selling vegetables»

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

Moreover, the Breton now has other horizons in mind and wants to perpetuate his quest to sell “ugly vegetablesand other wasted products… in Île-de-France. “ There will be an impact on the prices of our baskets from 1 euro to 1 euro 50 perhaps but if not, we will rent small warehouses in the suburbs and make sure not to increase our prices any further.“, emphasizes Karim Vincent Viry. The former salesman rarely stops and recognizes that he earned a better living before. However, he does not regret having started: “I recently turned 50 and longed to help on my own little scale. Besides, it makes my daughter proud, so it makes me want to continuehe smiles, he who likes to say that his cooperative is a bit the little vegetable unicorn“.

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


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