If you’ve been following me for awhile there’s a good chance you’ve heard me rave about Imperfect Foods. I’ve been receiving their produce boxes since 2017 (4 years ago!) and am still just as obsessed with them as I was when they started. It was due time I write an Imperfect Foods Review.
Note: I originally wrote this review 4 years ago in 2017. Since then Imperfect Produce (now Imperfect Foods) has only gotten better and now includes so much more than just ugly produce. I’m sharing what I love about Imperfect Foods and why I’ve been a customer for over 4 years.
Pssssht already a fan? Scroll down for my Imperfect Foods Coupon Code to save 50% off your first box! Okay let’s get into this Imperfect Produce review…
What is Imperfect Foods?
First off, I just want to share that when I joined Imperfect, it was called Imperfect Produce because all they sold was produce. 4 years later and their company has expanded tremendously! It’s no longer just produce. But more on that in a bit…
Imperfect Foods is essentially an alternative CSA. 20% of fruits and veggies don’t make it off the farm because they’re not “pretty enough”. Seriously. Grocery stores don’t take them because they know they won’t sell them if they look funny, have a scratch or a bruise. Also, farming isn’t predictable. Sometimes you grow more yield than there is demand from conventional grocery stores or there’s just a boom within a particular industry. Imperfect Produce gets those fruits and veggies from the farms (whether imperfect or overproduced) and then sells them to their customers at 30% less than what we would normally pay at the grocery store. It’s a pretty cool concept that has helped have a massive impact on food waste in the US.
Make sure you use the Imperfect Foods Promo Code HEALTHYMAVEN at checkout to save 50% off your first box!
Why is Something Considered “Imperfect”?
Imperfect Produce has narrowed down six major ways that perfectly good food could end up going to waste:
1. Cosmetic – Typically in a grocery store, consumers look for the best looking fruits and veggies. Do you ever intentionally pick up the deformed carrot or the bruised apple? Didn’t think so. The truth is, these fruits and veggies are perfectly good!
2. Off Spec – Food buyers typically have strict specifications when it comes to harvesting and packaging the food. If something is off, they won’t take it and then the farmer is left with perfectly good products.
3. Surplus – Farmer’s can never predict how successful a crop may be. Some seasons, there is a surplus of a certain product and the market can be oversaturated with a particular product. Food buyers can also back out of large orders leaving farmers with excess amounts of a product that they have nothing to do with.
4. Undervalued – How sad is this category? Perfectly good food goes to waste because there isn’t a demand or people don’t understand that it is a nutritious and perfectly normal part of the plant. Broccoli stems and leaves are a great example!
5. Packaging Change – When food brands get a makeover, the outdated branding sometimes is deemed “unsellable” even though it’s the same product on the inside.
6. Short-Coded – Traditional grocery stores only stock items that have expirations dates more than a few months out. If a product has a short expiration date, it’s likely it won’t even make the shelf.
What about Non-Produce Items?
As indicated above, it’s not just produce that goes to waste. Due to a packaging change or a product being short-coded, perfectly good non-perishables are also frequently going to waste. Not only is this food still delicious (and nutritious!) there’s generally absolutely nothing physically wrong or defective about them. This is where Imperfect Foods steps in and can help get these products into the hands of consumers before they go to waste.
One of the reasons I love Imperfect Foods is because they’ve now expanded beyond produce. They’ve made it possible for me to get olive oil for the fraction of the cost by working directly with farmers who have an overproduction or short grain brown rice that may have a slight imperfection but still cooks up just as well.
Currently I’m really into their crimson lentils which is a partnership with an organic grain company in Montana where the grain company harvested over 250,000 pounds of lentils for a big buyer, only to have the buyer downsize their order at the last minute. Another example is their Sightglass coffee beans collaboration that would normally be almost double the price (it’s one of the best coffee roasters in SF!) but because they’re buying the peaberries, which are a single round seed instead of the normal duo they’re able to offer sustainable and delicious coffee at a fraction of the cost. Their olive oil is also delicious and saves money on what would otherwise be a very expensive product.
In addition to their own food products, Imperfect Foods is also working with non-perishable producers to also offer their products that have either been short-coded or have some kind of packaging change to make sure these products don’t go to waste either. Their offerings are getting more and more extensive each week! They now also sell meat and seafood too!
How Does Imperfect Foods Work?
First things first, see if Imperfect Foods is in your area! If not, leave a comment below of where you’d love to see it and I’ll pass along to the team. 🙂 If they deliver to your area, you’ll simply choose which box size and type you’d like – they have small, medium, large and extra large as well as an organic and conventional option. Find the pricing breakdown here! Each week, you have the opportunity to customize what comes in your box! If you don’t customize your box, you’ll get their selection of fruits and veggies for the week. They deliver the box directly to your door and then it’s your job to get in the kitchen and use your Imperfect Produce.
I’m so excited that Imperfect Produce is also offering more non-perishables and their perfectly imperfect line of staples as well! Make sure you use the Imperfect Foods Promo Code HEALTHYMAVEN at checkout to save 50% off your first box!
This video is a few years old now but it gives you a good sense of what to expect from your Imperfect Produce and a great Imperfect Foods Review.
- I interviewed Imperfect Produce’s community manager Reilly on my podcast, That’s So Maven. A must listen! Seriously, he’s amazing and I’m proud to call him a friend.
- I made this Sweet Potato Cornbread and Roasted Acorn Squash Soup using Imperfect Produce. So delicious!
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DeviJanuary 6, 2020 at 10:32 am
I was excited hearing about this and that they offer Vegan & Vegetarian.
Then I saw if you receive EBT/SNAP Benefits, apply and it’s another 33% off.
Just sent them a pic of my card. Detroit here, I know a dozen others who will benefit from this service too. All of us receive SSDI.
Can not wait to share!
The Feds, DHHS, and USDA have let people like us way down. We paid into the system. My neighbor took 10 years for a MS diagnosis. DHHS keeps cutting her benefits, no reason. She was a Nurse. Now she can’t afford to run her Heat above 60 during the day, turns it OFF at night.
We are in Detroit here. They have failed us. So super excited to find out about this! You’d think our “Case workers” would have told us. Ha! Now I’m telling everyone locally.
GleepOctober 1, 2021 at 6:43 pm
This was absolutely true at the time, and it was super helpful to my family. Unfortunately, the EBT/SNAP discount was reduced to 15%. This still makes it a good option for once or twice a month, but it’s not nearly as helpful as the 33% off was.
allisonDecember 29, 2019 at 4:31 pm
i found your blog because of your youtube on this
MArijahDecember 6, 2019 at 2:04 pm
Hi! Signing up for imperfect produce today and Tried to use your coupon code and it wouldn’t accept it! :/
Davida LederleDecember 6, 2019 at 2:34 pm
Oh no! Did you double check that you entered it as one word? Sometimes people also add the “the” before but it should just be HEALTHYMAVEN. LMK if you still have trouble and if so I’ll reach out to the team!
LillianAugust 13, 2019 at 11:12 am
They have no presence in the Southeast, according to their map. I’m in Orlando and have been wishing they would come here!
HillaryJuly 3, 2019 at 11:06 am
Imperfect Produce has recently launched in my city and I’m a bit torn about it because of the bounty of local produce available especially during the peak summer months. What are your thoughts on Imperfect Produce potentially taking away business from local farmers who are growing high quality produce and need our support? Thanks for your always thoughtful content!
Davida LederleJuly 3, 2019 at 1:01 pm
Great question! I believe there’s room for both. I do from time-to-time shop at the farmer’s market but in full transparency it is SO expensive and simply not something that I have the budget for. It’s also not the most accessible for some people. What’s cool about Imperfect is that they do work with local farmers in your area so you are still providing that support even if its indirect. I’m all for local CSAs and farmer’s markets but also want to account for people who may not have the budget or the ability to access these. I really do think its possible to support both!