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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803 Comments
  • litWednesday, September 13, 2017 at 5:19 pm
    the fruit are so ugly that i almost had an heart attack
    • girlWednesday, September 13, 2017 at 5:17 pm
      there pretty ugly
      • rmw3204
        rmw3204Wednesday, September 13, 2017 at 9:58 am
        It 's food, It may look ugly, but it's still edible.
        • Anna KImbeyWednesday, September 13, 2017 at 9:08 am
          They aren't ugly, they are cute!!
          • Cartoon manSunday, September 10, 2017 at 4:17 pm
            the fruit may be ugly but there still fruit that can be eaten
            • factfun8
              factfun8Saturday, April 15, 2017 at 1:49 pm
              They don't look the best, but I guess there are worth a try..... 😐
              • pandaloverTuesday, March 28, 2017 at 11:59 am
                this is so weird!!
                • kltoad
                  kltoadThursday, February 23, 2017 at 3:51 pm
                  gross but helpful for the world
                  • MR. Big GuyFriday, January 6, 2017 at 11:35 am
                    This is super disqusting!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
                    • 3021614
                      Mr. PrakashMonday, June 5, 2017 at 9:50 am
                      I know right
                      • ninja3000
                        ninja3000Monday, June 5, 2017 at 9:45 am
                        i know right
                      • cool kid Monday, December 5, 2016 at 9:48 am
                        this is super funny I could not stop laughing
                        • 3021614
                          Mr. PrakashMonday, June 5, 2017 at 9:51 am
                          I know