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Behind the Label: Why We Offer Our Own Line of Grocery Essentials

In 2015, we founded Imperfect Produce to make an impact on food waste by offering farmers a fair price and a better home for their ugly fruits and vegetables. The more food we saved, the more opportunities to recover the food we saw all around us. In 2019, we changed our name to Imperfect Foods in an effort to make bigger changes in our food system and offer more grocery essentials. This allows us to work with food manufacturers who, like our farm partners, have products that go to waste due to our current food system and its unrealistic demands for perfection. 

The food system was failing these producers and their products, just like it was failing the potato growers with heart-shaped potatoes that we originally built our company (and first logo!) around. After tackling the produce aisle, it was time to take on the rest of the grocery store. 

Meeting the folks who grow and distribute grocery essentials like olive oil, rice, nuts, and quinoa made us realize there’s more we need to do to build the type of food system we want to see. One of the clearest ways is to help market and sell their “imperfect” products that don’t fit the supermarket mold. We could use our existing distribution infrastructure and open-minded community of customers to create a long-overdue new market for all sorts of products. This would allow us to reduce waste by creating the same type of compassionate flexibility for packaged food producers that we had built for farmers.

We’re Listening

We hear our customers’ feedback about wanting more grocery essentials. You want everything from peanut butter to tortilla chips to spices. So we worked with our network of quality producers to create delicious products at an even more delicious price. And with that, our exclusive line of Imperfect products was born. 

Imperfect foods fruit strings. Part of our grocery essentials.

While not every single item we offer would’ve been tossed away, every item does work to build a better food system. We pledge to only work with partners that support our mission, whether that be through sustainable sourcing and production, fair wage and labor practices, or supporting women- and minority-owned farms and producers.

Here are some of our community’s favorite grocery essentials that you can only find at Imperfect: 

Blemished almonds

We sell almonds that naturally end up chipped and scratched during the harvesting process. While they taste just as good as flawless-looking almonds and have the same nutritional benefits, retail stores aren’t as keen to buy them. 

Not-quite-tricolor quinoa

Most retailers require quinoa blends to have a particular ratio of black to white to red grains. So we buy the quinoa that doesn’t quite meet these specifications. We think that all quinoa should be loved and enjoyed. 

Virgin olive oil

Olives that experience frost yield oil that doesn’t meet the strict requirements to be sold as EVOO. We work with olive growers in California to sell their Virgin Olive Oil, as a versatile and delicious cooking oil. 

Fruit strings

For every perfectly rectangular piece of fruit leather you see in stores, there are edge pieces that go to waste. That is until we started sourcing them for the ultimate devourable, family-friendly snack. 

Off-cut salmon

Most restaurants and hotels expect all of their salmon fillets to be the exact same size and shape. But we buy salmon fillets that are small or shapely to offer sustainable salmon at a great price. 

Peaberry coffee

Our coffee helps support small farmers in Colombia. Farmers get a fair price for undersized and oddly shaped coffee beans that used to go undervalued. 

Pork chops

Our delicious pork chops come from pigs that are vegetarian fed, non-GMO, and antibiotic-free. They’re also raised crate-free in a certified humane environment. 

Imperfect foods dark chocolate covered pretzels. Part of our grocery essentials.

Keep an eye out for our growing lineup of Imperfect Foods exclusives the next time you’re shopping with us. We particularly recommend our chocolate-covered pretzels, which are so popular it can be hard to keep them in stock! Each order is a chance to directly impact our mission to eliminate food waste and build a better food system.

25 Comments

  • Avatar
    Amanda
    June 24, 2020 at 7:44 pm

    On the products were it’s feasible, I would love to know the original company as well. Specifically, as stated in the article, we all seem to adore the chocolate covered pretzels, but they’re kind of hit or miss stock-wise. When they’re not available from Imperfect, I would like the option to seek out that company and purchase from them, but that information isn’t available on the Imperfect packaging.

    Reply
  • Avatar
    Jean Bush
    June 24, 2020 at 7:57 pm

    Bravo to you, Imperfect. I joined Imperfect Produce in May of 2019. I have yet to be disappointed in your offerings. Keep up the great work.

    Reply
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    Debbie Griffiths
    June 24, 2020 at 8:14 pm

    I just received my second order, you guys even threw in an extra dozen eggs…love Imperfect foods.

    Reply
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    js
    June 24, 2020 at 8:29 pm

    Don’t forget about the Maroo raisins — they’re the best raisins ever!

    Reply
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    Mandy
    June 24, 2020 at 8:44 pm

    I love the pretzels. I would buy them every week if I could.

    Reply
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    Dawn Ruggeroli
    June 24, 2020 at 9:01 pm

    I’d been getting my box every other week until Covid hit. Now I use IP as my weekly grocery shopping and it’s been great to have the IP brand items! I esp love that we now get a confirmation email listing what we bought, nice add.
    Keep up the good work!

    Reply
  • Avatar
    Gloria Winter
    June 24, 2020 at 9:34 pm

    I am a new very happy customer I received my second order last week and I am telling everybody I know how great you are. Can’t wait to see what’s on offer for next week keep up the good work.

    Reply
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    Richard C
    June 25, 2020 at 2:45 am

    Love you guys!

    Reply
  • Avatar
    S
    June 25, 2020 at 3:55 am

    Received my second box this week and my family and I can’t be more pleased and helping reduce another trip to a grocery trip for a family of five and keep up with fresh veggies and produce besides my trip to Costco every 2/3 weeks. Like the seasonal rotations and my family is loving peaches, plums, and dark chocolate pretzel bits lately, tried the tasty organic beef hot dogs (yummy)! Thanks Imperfect all the way from Kyle.

    Reply
  • Avatar
    Barbara Eberhardt
    June 25, 2020 at 2:21 pm

    I love your service. Someone sent me a bonus veggie. I had to look it up. Now fennel is. My new favorite veg! Your Anytime coffee is the best! I can’t start my day without it. Keep up the good work.

    Reply
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    Cathi Nelson
    June 25, 2020 at 4:41 pm

    I’ve been loving your company since last fall .I rarely need to go to the grocery store now! Really happy about the minimal packaging waste too! I tell all my friends about you !!❤️❤️

    Reply
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    Iris Robinson
    June 25, 2020 at 5:08 pm

    We bought the pork chops this week. There were superb! There are so many things in your line up that have become staples in our weekly box. Love the Turmeric Chicken Bone Broth! I so appreciate what you are doing to support the small farmers and provide a higher quality of food even though it is not perfect! Your customer service is also an added bonus.

    Reply
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    Deb
    June 25, 2020 at 5:39 pm

    I love imperfect foods. Since you are all about conserving and using even ugly veggies and fruit. Is there any way we can return the foil packs and freezer packs to you so you can reuse? Would love to recycle them. Let us know.

    Reply
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      Imperfect Foods
      June 29, 2020 at 11:18 pm

      Right now, we’re not able to take back packaging due to public health safety concerns but when we’re able to we’ll totally make an announcement!

      Reply
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    Trish van Kuijk
    June 26, 2020 at 1:57 am

    Our family has been using this amazing service since August of 2019. Love it! Look forward to my delivery every week!

    Thank you for all you do!

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Imperfect Foods
      June 29, 2020 at 8:34 pm

      We appreciate your support! 😊

      Reply
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    Ann Secord
    June 29, 2020 at 7:10 pm

    We came home from overseas just before everyone was told to stay home. I’d never gotten home delivery before but I liked the theory behind rescuing food that would otherwise go to waste. Since March we’ve gotten a box every week and have had only a few glitches which were quickly resolved. I have recommended IF to everyone I know and at least three households I know of have signed up and all are very happy with everything they have gotten. Great idea, great execution. So glad we found you!

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Imperfect Foods
      June 29, 2020 at 8:33 pm

      Hi! So happy that our paths have crossed. Thank you for helping us fight food waste and for spreading the Imperfect love! 💚

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Maria Triliegi
    July 1, 2020 at 11:45 pm

    Not related to the article. I LOVE Imperfect Foods and am so grateful every time a box appears on my porch. My comment is; is there any way we can return the ice bags and or boxes that I feel bad throwing away? I can save a few although after a while …… just too much to keep. HELP. I will be happy to leave on the porch on my delivery day.

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Imperfect Foods
      July 1, 2020 at 11:54 pm

      We used to have a packaging return program, but we’ve stopped that program since the COVID-19 pandemic started. Hopefully, we’ll be able to start that back up again, but in the meantime, we encourage you to recycle your materials! This link has some helpful tips on how to recycle your packaging apart from our packaging return program:

      Reply
      • Avatar
        Patsy Inglet
        July 5, 2020 at 7:40 pm

        We found a nature center/public garden that needed cardboard for mulch. We donated our IF boxes to them, so they have a second life helping to grow more food. Good, YES?

        Love the shrimp and scallop pieces that would go to waste if we didn’t buy them from IF. They are already cut up and ready for some really yummy recipes. Great idea.

        Reply
        • Avatar
          Imperfect Foods
          July 6, 2020 at 12:14 am

          Such a fantastic way to give a second chance to the boxes!

          Reply
    • Avatar
      Imperfect Foods
      July 2, 2020 at 12:00 am

      Thanks a ton for the love! We’ve had to pause our packaging take back program due to public health safety concerns but once the program has been reinstated we’ll absolutely make an announcement so everyone can participate again.

      Reply
  • Avatar
    Jill Wake
    July 3, 2020 at 5:46 am

    I upped my delivery to every week when COVID hit and it’s worked out great! The chocolate covered pretzels are my favorite! Love my Imperfect box!!

    Reply
    • Avatar
      Imperfect Foods
      July 6, 2020 at 12:16 am

      The chocolate pretzels are so yummy! Thank you for your continued support.

      Reply

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