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The San Francisco-based online grocer 'Imperfect Produce' believes even ugly food, is beautiful on the inside. Photo by Keith Syvinski from FreeImages.
The San Francisco-based online grocer 'Imperfect Produce' believes even ugly food, is beautiful on the inside. Photo by Keith Syvinski from FreeImages.

Groceries on a Mission
Imperfect Produce Feeds People,

Saves Food, Water & CO2

Aug 4, 2019

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By Laura Dupree

In a perfect world everyone would have access to Imperfect Produce.

Just as “you can’t judge a book by its cover,” the San Francisco-based online grocer believes even ugly food, is beautiful on the inside. The direct-to-consumer business, which uses a subscription box delivery model, works with farmers all over the world, according to Imperfect Produce Content Manager Reilly Crock.

“They ship their ugly and surplus produce to us and then we pack it in boxes and send it out for delivery,” he said. “Imperfect customers are helping build a better food system and they are doing that by finding a home for produce that otherwise was getting left in the field, or sold at a loss to become processed food, or shipped out to become cattle feed,” Crock said, adding, “They are giving farmers a viable outlet. Historically, growers have had a lot of trouble marketing (their produce) just because of how it looked.”

One of the real perks for Imperfect subscribers, is the savings. On average, items are 30 percent cheaper than what one would find in a grocery store – and the groceries are delivered to customers’ doors. … How ’bout them apples?

Enters dairy

Imperfect will deliver dairy in compostable, recyclable cardboard boxes customers can leave for Imperfect to pick up and reuse. Photo by Davide Guglielmo from FreeImages.But it’s not just about fruits and veggies anymore. In June, Imperfect Produce rolled out dairy offerings to customers across the Bay Area, including, but not limited to, those living in Marin, Petaluma, Rohnert Park, Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, Windsor, Kenwood, Glen Ellen and Napa, as well as Sacramento.

“The dairy pilot program will offer 12 fresh, high quality products, including milk, eggs, yogurt, cheese and butter. Imperfect

is working with select producers such as Clover, Chobani, and Miyoko’s, and is also sourcing dairy products locally from farms in Petaluma and Sonoma. And, to reduce environmental impact, Imperfect will deliver dairy in compostable, recyclable cardboard boxes with ice packs and insulation that customers can leave for Imperfect to pick up and reuse,” states a press release from Imperfect Produce. In addition to dairy and produce, Imperfect offers its customers shelf-stable items such as flour, quinoa, lentils and bread.

“We are working with several producers in the North Bay, so any customers that sign up can help support the growers/farmers there,” Crock said, noting for example, Imperfect is working with Petaluma Farms, a local egg producer.

Imperfect is working with Petaluma Farms, a local egg producer. Photo by rubenshito from FreeImages.

“The eggs are the first of many new items we will have. The plan here is to offer folks a full grocery shopping experience. All of the aisles they can find in the store, we want them to be able to find in an affordable convenient way,” he said.

“Imperfect has recovered 40 million pounds of produce since launching in 2015; 32 million of which was recovered just this past year. This year the company is on track to recover almost 50 million pounds of produce. In addition to rescuing food, Imperfect has saved 1.2 billion gallons of water and 110 million pounds of carbon dioxide,” the press release states.

The above information is included (in the press release) because “it’s important to share that when food gets wasted, it’s not just the food that is getting wasted; it’s also the resources that went into growing or producing the food that gets wasted. Many of our foods, like avocados, take gallons of water to grow, so not wasting these foods is a great way to say we value that water and don’t take it for granted” Crock said.

For more information or to become a subscriber, visit imperfectproduce.com/join.

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