A Review of Imperfect Produce

Did you know that the US alone wastes over 150,000 tons of food EACH DAY? That’s about a pound per person – every day! According to Imperfect Produce, that’s 40% of all food – or 20 billion pounds – produced in the United States that is completely wasted!

When food is wasted, all the resources that were used in the growth and production of that food are also wasted. Resources like water (~21% wasted), fertilizer (~19% wasted), and the cropland used to grow it (~18% wasted).

An infographic showing the resources that are wasted when food is thrown away
Photo Credit: Imperfect Produce

In addition to all the waste, there is also a huge environmental toll. Foods that end up in a landfill decompose, releasing methane gas into the atmosphere. Methane is a greenhouse gas that is 23 times more potent than carbon dioxide (CO2). According to Project Drawdown, reducing food waste is one of the top 3 ways to reverse global warming.

A graph showing that reduced food waste is the #3 way to reverse global warming
Photo Credit: Project Drawdown

About Imperfect Produce

Imperfect Produce is a produce delivery service that strives to reduce food waste. Oftentimes produce is rejected by the grocery stores because it is “ugly” by the standards set by the store. However, none of these imperfections affect quality or flavor. What makes produce ugly or imperfect?

  • Inconsistent size – too big, too small, too varied
  • Asymmetrical or misshapen
  • Scarring on the surface of the produce
  • Lack of demand for a type of produce
  • Discoloration
  • Surplus – too many for the stores to take

Not only is the mission a great cause, but because the produce is imperfect, it is also up to 30% more affordable than grocery store prices. Plus, Imperfect Produce offers a reduced-cost box for anyone who qualifies for SNAP.

“Our community believes that produce should be judged by how delicious it tastes, not by how flawless its skin is. We’re working hard to change the conversation in our food system so we can see the beauty in everything that we grow and value it down to the last bite.”

Imperfect Produce

How It Works

When you sign up, you are given the option to completely tailor the service to your needs. You have control over:

  • The size of your box (see graphic below)
  • Whether you get just fruit, just vegetables, or both
  • Whether the produce is organic, conventional, or a mix
  • Delivery schedule (weekly or every other week) – you can skip scheduled weeks too!
  • Which produce is in your box – if you don’t like something, just swap it out for something else!
Photo Credit: Imperfect Produce

Every week (or every other, depending on your selection), Imperfect Produce will send you an email notifying you that your box is ready for customization. You can choose to go into your account and customize it (within a window of time), or you can be surprised! Because you have control over the contents of the box, you can also add or reduce items based on your weekly budget. This is a great benefit if you are trying to budget more. Knowing what is coming and selecting your items is also incredibly helpful with meal planning.

Your produce will be delivered a few days after the customization window closes. When you sign up, Imperfect Produce will let you know what day that is each week based on your location. For example, our produce is delivered every Thursday, generally in the evenings between 6 pm and 10 pm. If that is too late for you, you can contact them directly for a day time delivery.

What’s In the Box

What comes in your box depends on the seasonal offerings Imperfect Produce has available, as well as what you select from those offerings. In this week’s box I got the following:

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 cabbage
  • 2 lbs of beets
  • 1 lb of organic pears
  • 3 zucchini
  • 3 organic avocado
  • 2 bunches of kale

The contents above cost $19.65 (which includes the $4.99 delivery fee that is standard on all box sizes). That amount of produce would have cost me far more at our local grocery store. Plus, not having to make a trip to the store saves me both time and money!

A box full of produce - kale, cabbage, zucchini, beets, pears, and avocado

Previous Boxes

For reference, here are some of the other boxes I’ve received in the past, as well as the cost of each box (cost includes the delivery fee).

Box #1 ($24.37) – June Delivery

  • 2 organic cucumbers
  • 1 organic cabbage
  • 2 grapefruit
  • 1 organic sweet potato
  • 5 peaches
  • 1 bunch of celery
  • 1 mini watermelon
  • 2 organic artichokes
  • 2 organic pears

Box #2 ($24.28) – November Delivery

  • 1 lb of organic sweet potatoes
  • 2 pomegranate
  • 1 lb of kiwi
  • 1 lb of onions
  • 3 avocados
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 1 organic cabbage
  • 3 organic pears
  • 1 organic spaghetti squash
  • 1 lb of beets

The Quality

Over the years I have tried produce delivery through other companies such as Amazon Fresh, Safeway, and Full Circle. With these companies, I always ran into quality issues. Produce was crushed during delivery, it had already started to rot or mold, or the flavor left something to be desired.

I have not run into most of these issues with Imperfect Produce. Out of all the boxes I’ve received, I have only had one issue with some crushed produce. When I reached out to the company, they were quick to resolve the issue with a refund and a credit to my account.

The quality with Imperfect Produce is amazing. I have never been disappointed in the taste of any of the items received. In fact, they have provided some of the best tasting produce I’ve eaten! The watermelon back in June was the juiciest, most flavorful watermelon I’ve ever had. The beets have been sweet and absolutely delicious when roasted. The cabbage has resulted in crisp, mildly sweet homemade sauerkraut – just the way it should be!

For the most part, none of the produce has even been that “imperfect.” They may have a few blemishes on the skin, or be abnormally large (or sometimes small), but overall none of it has looked that vastly different from what I would find in the store. So far, I have been a very happy customer!

Ready to Try It?

If you’re interested in giving Imperfect Produce a try, I’d love to have you check them out via my referral link: http://imprfct.us/luxRO. When you sign up using that link, you will get a $10 credit to your account! For full disclosure, I also get a $10 credit, making it a win-win for both of us!

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