Oakland-Based Imperfect Will Sell Only "Ugly" Fruits And Vegetables

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Similar to humans, produce comes in different shapes and sizes. Yet, chances are you have probably never encountered a gnarly looking carrot or an apple with "character" at your local grocery store or farmers market. That's because any fruit or vegetable that looks different from what is considered "normal" is deemed undesirable and automatically tossed out!

Experts estimate that six billion pounds or about twenty percent of all produce grown in the US ends up either in landfill or as animal feed, annually. Now Ben Chesler, Ben Simon and Ron Clark want to change that with their aptly named startup "Imperfect." The Oakland-based company plans to purchase the"cosmetically challenged produce" from farmers and sell it either through a supermarket chain they recently signed a deal with or by delivering it directly to consumers.

Chesler and Simon believe that once consumers realize that "ugly" fruits and vegetables taste as good as the "beautiful" produce supermarkets display, they will embrace the cause. The company who is working with farmers in California, plans to start selling the produce to the residents of Oakland and Berkeley by July 2015. If all goes well, Imperfect will extend the service to other California cities and then hopefully, to other states as well.

In addition to preventing waste, Imperfect's idea will also result in additional income for farmers who are sometimes forced to trash as much as 50% of their harvest just because it doesn't look "right." Consumers that eat the produce will benefit too. That's because the entrepreneurs estimate it will cost as much as 30-50% less than grocery store produce.

And if that's not enough to convince you that "ugly" produce may be worth a try, how about this? It will help the environment too! That's because rotting produce releases harmful methane into the atmosphere. Additionally, for drought-ridden California the business could not have come at a better time. Each pound of food that gets sold prevents the 25-50 gallons of water it takes to grow a pound of produce from being wasted! The one benefit the entrepreneurs have not factored in is that kids may consume more fruits and vegetables if look "different" than the boring ones they encounter today!

Resources: fastcoexist.com, grist.org,psfk.com, npr.com

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801 Comments
  • luvmylipgloss
    luvmylipglossFriday, March 22, 2019 at 3:06 pm
    Oooh. Cool. But kinda looks wrong.
    • chlooe
      chlooeThursday, March 21, 2019 at 4:28 pm
      I never have seen them before!
      • im a human tooTuesday, December 11, 2018 at 12:47 pm
        this artical was cool
        • sailor_moon
          sailor_moonThursday, September 13, 2018 at 9:28 am
          omg that just looks so wrong
          • Deven Sunday, July 29, 2018 at 3:03 pm
            That’s weirdly cool
            • HdeeMonday, April 30, 2018 at 8:04 am
              I play Minecraft
              • dfgrfdcfvbghnjyThursday, March 8, 2018 at 12:19 pm
                cool eggplant though
                • thoeTuesday, March 6, 2018 at 1:46 pm
                  i think super markets should stop being picke and just bring it to the store
                  • wolfdog
                    wolfdogWednesday, May 9, 2018 at 9:28 am
                    So you would have to bring the entire tree to the store.
                  • meadowlark12
                    meadowlark12Wednesday, December 6, 2017 at 2:02 pm
                    The tomato looks like a...ahem...a behind.
                    • pistil_kid
                      pistil_kidWednesday, December 6, 2017 at 9:26 am
                      Want to eat