We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.

Imperfect Foods is a grocery delivery service that aims to reduce food waste. The company offers products that grocery stores reject due to their shape or other imperfections. People can order a range of groceries from the service, including fresh produce and household items.

This article explores the brand’s reputation and the types of products that customers can order. In addition, it looks at the potential health benefits of food delivery services and provides tips for sustainable shopping.

Imperfect Foods is a grocery delivery service that aims to reduce food waste. The company delivers a range of groceries to people’s homes weekly, with the boxes containing foods that grocery stores have rejected due to their size and shape. Without the Imperfect Foods service, these foods would likely go to waste.

Imperfect Foods states that the most common reasons why grocery stores reject foods include:

  • discontinued products
  • surplus goods
  • cosmetic imperfection
  • ends and pieces
  • foods that have “use by” or “best before” dates that supermarkets deem too soon

The brand aims to build a better food system for everyone by committing to the following:

  • intentional regional sourcing and weekly deliveries to zip codes to reduce carbon emissions
  • reducing waste to landfill with a mission to rescue a billion pounds of food by 2030
  • using energy responsibly and working toward 100% renewable power in their centers by 2026
  • working with food banks to fight domestic hunger by offering low cost boxes to people struggling to afford food

At the time of publishing, Imperfect Foods has an average score of 2.2 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot based on 101 reviews.

Reviewers who have given a good score state that the customer service team is helpful in updating customers on delivery times and delays. Other customers say that although the food is smaller or more irregularly shaped than most grocery store food, it is fresh and of good quality.

However, those leaving negative reviews mention that the food is too expensive, while the quality is not what they would expect. Some customers say that the fruit and vegetables are too small and either overripe or underripe. Other reviews mention delivery delays leading to spoiled produce.

Imperfect Foods offers a range of groceries, including the following:

  • seasonal produce that may be imperfect in shape or size
  • meat and seafood from producers committed to animal welfare and using land and resources responsibly
  • plant-based items, such as organic oat milk, vegan chicken, and tofu
  • eggs and dairy from cage-free animals
  • grains and pantry staples, such as bread, baked goods, and pasta
  • snacks, including chips, dried fruits, and cookies
  • household and beauty items from producers committed to ethical sourcing

Imperfect Foods delivers products in a box that contains an insulated liner, a gel pack, and an egg carton liner. People can recycle or reuse most of these items.

Box

Imperfect Foods states that the boxes it uses are made from 100% recycled fiber.

People can recycle the box with other paper products, reuse it, or donate it to local companies such as U-Haul for others to use. If the box is wet or dirty, the company recommends that people use it for compost.

Insulated liner

The insulated liner is made out of polyethylene that contains at least 30% post-industrial recycled material.

People can reuse the liner to protect items during shipping or to keep produce cool during longer journeys. Imperfect Foods also accepts insulated liners as part of its Packaging and Return Program. The company partners with Recyclops, which uses insulated liners to create household items across the United States and Canada.

Gel pack

Each gel pack is made from number 4 plastic and water-based freezer gel.

Imperfect Foods recommends reusing the gel packs to keep items, such as lunches, cool. People can also return the gel pack to the company for it to reuse or recycle.

If a person prefers to recycle the gel pack at home, they can recycle the plastic lining with other recycling or take it to a local recycling center. People can drain the gel into the sink if the gel pack states that it is safe to do so. If not, they can drain the gel into the trash can.

Egg carton liner

Imperfect Foods egg carton liner contains 30% recycled polyethylene and polyethylene blends.

People can recycle the liner at any recycling center that accepts polyethylene film. Imperfect Foods states that it accepts the egg carton liners as part of its Packaging and Return Program.

Thermal insulated liner

The thermal insulation contains a mixture of plant-based starches. The lining is number 4 LDPE polyethylene plastic film.

People can compost the insulation at home or break it down under running water. Imperfect Foods recommends breaking the insulation down over plants outside, as it is not suitable for indoor plumbing.

People can recycle the lining with their usual recycling if their local service accepts it. If not, they can drop off the plastic at a local recycling center that accepts flexible film.

People sign up for the Imperfect Foods service and answer questions about their requirements and lifestyle. The company then assigns customers a specific delivery day based on where they live, which helps minimize the number of trucks on the roads and carbon emissions.

On its website, Imperfect Foods explains that it starts each week’s order with handpicked produce fresh from the farm and items that it thinks the customer will like based on their preferences. Users can then remove or replace products and add groceries as they wish. However, they must amend their order during a specified shopping window.

How much does it cost?

Imperfect Foods does not charge a set price for a person’s order. Instead, it charges a different price for each product, as other grocery stores do. Imperfect Foods does not disclose the prices of the products available on its website.

The company requires a minimum order of $30–40 for some locations. It states that it will inform people about any minimum orders when they are signing up and customizing their product lists.

Shipping and delivery

Imperfect Foods states that its delivery costs are between $4.99 and $8.99. The company currently delivers to most of the West South Central, Midwest, and Northeast regions of the U.S., as well as the West Coast. People can check whether Imperfect Foods delivers to their zip code by creating an account through the company’s website.

The company uses its own vans or a third party delivery service to transport and deliver a person’s order. A person’s delivery day will depend on their zip code, and Imperfect Foods will send them an email or text with a tracking number for their order. Once the company has delivered the products, the person will receive a confirmation email or text.

Imperfect Foods also collects packaging from customers to reuse or donate, encouraging them to recycle or repurpose their boxes and cool packs.

Misfits Market also delivers imperfect food to people’s doors, stating that it can save them up to 40% off grocery store prices. Individuals can customize their grocery boxes according to their preferences and add discount pantry items before delivery.

Buying imperfect food is a way for people to reduce food waste and increase sustainability.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) encourages people to purchase imperfect foods, advising that they are safe to eat and nutritious. However, it notes that individuals should avoid buying produce with punctured skins that expose the inside or anything that looks or smells rotten or moldy.

A person can purchase imperfect foods from grocery stores and supermarkets. Often, these retailers will sell misshapen produce or short-dated foods for less, which can save people money, as well as helping avoid food waste.

Individuals can also make soups, smoothies, or casseroles with fresh, smaller or slightly overripe produce.

The Department of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Agency created the U.S. Food Loss & Waste 2030 Champions initiative to recognize businesses that have made a public commitment to reduce food loss and waste in their U.S.-based operations by 50% by 2030.

The initiative’s report also recognizes several food delivery services for playing their part, including HelloFresh, Marley Spoon, and Blue Apron.

Whether grocery delivery services are healthy depends on what a person orders and what types of food they consume.

For example, research indicates that nutritious plant-based diets may lead to an improvement in cardiovascular health. People who follow these diets may also have a reduced risk of stroke, although males who consume a plant-based diet for an extended period may experience more cardiovascular benefits than females.

A 2018 study suggests that people who follow nutritious plant-based diets have a lower risk of mortality than those who consume less healthy plant foods. However, researchers need to investigate this link further.

Therefore, individuals may wish to include more plant foods, such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, in their delivery boxes. People can also use the MyPlate resource to help them plan a nutritious, well-balanced diet.

Imperfect Foods helps people reduce food waste and carbon emissions.

Using this service may encourage individuals to include more plant foods and vegetables in their diet, which could yield health benefits.

People can also consider buying imperfect foods from their local stores, supporting local farmers’ markets, and recycling food packaging to help the environment.