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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815 Comments
  • jazmine2008
    jazmine2008Tuesday, March 30, 2021 at 8:04 am
    once a was eating cheetos and one looked like a heart but i know cheetos are not a fruit. but it was cool follow if you like cheetos.
    • alphawolf13
      alphawolf13Thursday, March 25, 2021 at 12:07 pm
      This is actually really cool.
      • yumgirly10
        yumgirly10Tuesday, March 16, 2021 at 9:15 am
        It does look ugly... but I don't think you should WASTE it because it looks weird. I mean it probably tastes the same!!!!!!!!!! And they are probably the organic
        • pukipukipunpun
          pukipukipunpunMonday, March 15, 2021 at 2:56 pm
          This so amazing to see that you don't have to look perfect to be sold or in our world popular you just have to be you <3
          • fizzyizzy948
            fizzyizzy948Monday, March 15, 2021 at 10:27 am
            The apple is just happy the way they are! Just look at that face! >﹏<
            • kkdelaya
              kkdelayaSunday, March 14, 2021 at 5:39 pm
              That is so cool and I don't that those fruits are ugly I think that they are unique because I think that stuff I have never seen before are cool. And please follow if you agree.😀
              • artsysunflower3
                artsysunflower3Tuesday, March 9, 2021 at 7:58 am
                Not ugly...SUPER COOL!
                • gold3nglare
                  gold3nglareTuesday, March 9, 2021 at 7:32 am
                  I honestly wouldn't buy that but I like what they are doing
                  • pukipukipunpun
                    pukipukipunpunMonday, March 15, 2021 at 3:07 pm
                    Um they are not wasting food, do you know that people in 3rd world countries would be so grateful for this. So think again about what your saying because your life could change with a blink of an eye and you would be grateful for these fruits.
                  • wolfieland
                    wolfielandTuesday, March 9, 2021 at 7:31 am
                    this is interesting....
                    • ilovetacoslol
                      ilovetacoslolSaturday, January 9, 2021 at 4:51 pm
                      Thats so cool!