Imperfect Produce Sells "Ugly" Fruits and Vegetables on Subscription

The Lempert Report
September 13, 2019

Will it work?

The cost ranges from $11 to $43 per box. About 20 percent of fruits and veggies grown in the U.S. don’t fit the cosmetic standards for retail, according to Imperfect Produce.  

As we have seen grocery stores have jumped on the ugly produce bandwagon, mostly by pointing out ugly produce on its shelves and encouraging customers to buy it.

At Imperfect Produce the imperfections vary. It might be a wonky shaped tomato, a too-small lemon or fruit with with scars reports the Fresno Bee newspaper.

Imperfect Produce delivers weekly boxes of fruit and vegetables and employs its own drivers. Customers can choose from organic or conventionally grown produce, pick the size of box they want (from a small box serving one to two people, to an extra-large box serving six to 10 people).

They can choose an all veggie box, an all fruit box or a mix of both. Each week customers can pick and choose what they want in their box.

Imperfect Produce gets its fruit and veggies from 200 farmers around the country. Much of it comes from California.

A piece in “Food & Wine” pointed out that their produce may have otherwise been donated to food banks. Imperfect Produce says that doesn’t happen, as they come into play after food banks get their supplies.

Other critics have said programs like Imperfect Produce encourage overproduction and wastefulness by giving farmers a financial incentive to grow too much food.

Imperfect Produce is growing. It’s now operating in about two dozen cities nationwide, many on the East Coast, along with California, Portland and Seattle.