Although “Imperfect Produce” started up in 2015, Dallas residents are only now getting to enjoy its offerings. Anyone wondering about those offerings need only read the company’s name: produce in less than top grade. This can be a boon to those looking to diminish the $160 billion in annual food waste within the United States. Imperfect Produce buys the 20-plus percent of fruits and vegetables that farmers deem unfit for grocers and then passes those discounted goods to its online clientele.
The company has slowly grown within Texas, with Houston, Austin and San Antonio getting a taste before Dallas. Currently, several Dallas zip codes are valid delivery spots for Imperfect Produce goods. Reilly Brock, the company’s content manager, says that it is interested in expanding operations throughout 2019 and does its best to ship by zip code so as to minimize gas usage.
Customers can purchase a box of mixed fruit and vegetables, just fruit, just vegetables and just organic in boxes that range from small to extra large sizes, meaning anywhere from $11 to $43, plus delivery fees. Subscribers can sign up for weekly or biweekly deliveries. While the $4.99 delivery fee diminishes the steep savings of buying less-than-perfect mushrooms, cucumbers and jalapeños, there is no argument that Imperfect Produce’s offerings come cheaper than the same items bought from a grocery store. Even beyond the monetary savings, this sort of service can be peace of mind for ecologically-minded individuals. Notably, a good chunk of goods can be surplus, rather than less-than-ideal quality.
Brock mentions that Imperfect Produce tries to source its goods as close to home as possible while seeking to cut down on food waste. While it does its best to buy from Texas, California and even Mexico, it will still buy up some goods from regions like the Midwest. Ultimately, Imperfect Produce’s value depends on the frequency and volume that a customer buys groceries and how particular he is with looks. Buying from Imperfect Produce means that farmers get paid for more of their crops and the planet gets less food waste.
The one voice of dissent in Imperfect Produce comes from Sarah Taber, a crop scientist. She questioned the merit of consuming sub-stellar crops in order to diminish America’s food waste when four-fifths of all food waste occurs at that produce’s end goal. Further, most “ugly” crops’ looks do not matter when blended in food processors.