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Imperfect Foods is a grocery delivery service that aims to reduce food waste. The company offers products that grocery stores reject due to imperfections. This includes 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.
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.
Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.
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 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 landfills, with a mission of rescuing 1 billion pounds of food by 2030
- using energy responsibly and working toward 100% renewable power in its centers by 2026
- working with food banks to fight domestic hunger by offering low cost boxes to people finding it hard to afford food
This company uses “imperfect” foods that other retailers will likely throw out otherwise. This approach makes the service a sustainable option and helps prevent food waste.
At the time of publication, Imperfect Foods has an average score of 2.8 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot based on just over 220 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 who left negative reviews mention that the food is too expensive and that the quality is not what they would have expected. Some customers say the fruit and vegetables are too small and either overripe or underripe. Other reviews mention delivery delays leading to spoiled produce.
On the Better Business Bureau (BBB), the company has an A+ rating. However, the average customer rating is 1.78 out of 5 stars.
Positive reviews show that customers are often pleased with the produce they receive and enjoy the flexibility of deliveries, and some customers said the service allowed them to access foods they would not be able to get easily.
Critical comments mention unexpected charges and damaged orders, and many customers did not realize that making an account on the Imperfect Foods website would automatically sign them up for a subscription.
Below, we look at the main benefits and drawbacks of the Imperfect Foods service.
- helps significantly reduce food waste
- offers a more environmentally friendly way to grocery shop
- features recyclable packaging
- gives people access to foods they cannot easily access
- reduces carbon emissions by delivering to one neighborhood at once
- works with Feeding America to improve food insecurity
- people cannot check the quality of the ingredients before delivery
- many customers did not realize that making an account charged them for a subscription
- may be more expensive than shopping at a store
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 meat, and tofu
- eggs and dairy from cage-free animals
- grains and pantry staples, such as bread, baked goods, and pasta
- snacks, including chips, dried fruit, 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.
The company states it is the only nationwide grocer that takes back customers’ packaging to reuse and recycle. To return packaging, people must leave their packaging where they usually collect their deliveries, and the courier will collect the packaging for reuse or recycling.
Imperfect Foods states that its boxes 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.
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 keep produce cool during longer journeys. Imperfect Foods 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.
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 reuse or recycling.
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
The 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 egg carton liners as part of its Packaging and Return Program.
The company does not take back egg cartons.
Thermal insulated liner
The thermal insulation contains a mixture of plant-based starches. The lining is number 4 LDPE plastic film.
A person 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 it does 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 the amount of 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.
The company states that it receives new food items each week. The produce that Imperfect Foods sells is wonky or small, and the company states that most grocery stores would throw the items away rather than sell them. The rest of the items the company sells are sustainably and responsibly sourced by companies that share Imperfect Foods’ values.
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 until a person signs up for its service and fills out a credit card information form.
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.
Imperfect Foods states that its delivery cost is $5.99. The company currently delivers to most of the West South Central, Midwest, and Northeast regions of the U.S., as well as the entire West Coast. People can check whether Imperfect Foods delivers to their zip code by creating an account through the company website.
Shipping is free for orders over the value of $60.
The company uses its own vans or a third-party delivery service to transport and deliver an individual’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 states that it will replace the products or refund the money or credit it to a person’s account if the food quality or weight is not what the company advertised online.
To start the refund process, a person needs to contact the company through its website and fill out a form. A customer care associate will contact the person for more information and arrange a replacement or a full or partial refund or credit money to the person’s account.
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.
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 and help 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.
The table below compares Imperfect Foods’ sustainability efforts with its main competitors.
|Products offered||Food waste initiatives||Range of recyclable packaging|
|Imperfect Foods||groceries and household items||sells imperfect food and household items that stores would otherwise throw away||• gel pack|
• egg carton liner
• insulated liner
• paper liners
|HelloFresh||meal kits||offers preportioned meal kits so people only use exactly what they need||• ice packs|
• meal kit bags
|Misfits Market||groceries||sells imperfect food, including meat and seafood, that stores would otherwise throw away||• box|
• ice packs
• plastic bags
|Hungry Harvest||groceries||offers farm-fresh fruits and vegetables that would otherwise go to waste||• box|
• ice packs
|Marley Spoon||meal kits||offers preportioned meal kits so people only use exactly what they need||• box|
• ice packs
• box liners
• paper bags
• ingredient packaging
|Blue Apron||meal kits||offers preportioned meal kits so people only use exactly what they need||• plastic trays|
• metal cans
• glass bottles
• plastic bags and film
Whether grocery delivery services are healthy depends on what a person orders and what types of food they consume.
Therefore, a person 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.
Below, we answer some of the top frequently asked questions about Imperfect Foods.
Is Imperfect Foods really worth it?
Imperfect Foods may be a good option for people who want to make more sustainable choices while grocery shopping. However, it may be more expensive than shopping at the store.
What is the deal with Imperfect Foods?
Imperfect Foods aims to significantly reduce food waste by selling produce that stores would otherwise throw away due to small imperfections or size. This may appeal to people who want to make environmentally friendly choices in their everyday life.
Is Imperfect Foods easy to cancel?
People can cancel their Imperfect Foods subscription during their shopping window without extra charges. They must go into their account on the company website to manage their subscription. If a person cancels after their shopping window, they may still receive and have to pay for their order.
Which is better, Imperfect Foods versus Misfits Market?
Both Imperfect Foods and Misfits Market offer groceries that stores would otherwise throw away due to small imperfections. Both companies aim to reduce food waste and offer a range of recyclable packaging. Both services offer customizable orders and produce including fruits, vegetables, meat, seafood, and dairy and pantry items.
Imperfect Foods may be more affordable than Imperfect Foods. Shipping costs $5.99, while Misfits Market charges $6.99 and over. There is also a $30 minimum for Misfit Market orders.
However, Imperfect Foods offers a more limited delivery area than Misfits Market and is not available in a large portion of the United States.
Imperfect Foods helps people reduce food waste and carbon emissions.
Using this service may encourage individuals to include more plant foods 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.