The Scoop on Imperfect Produce

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Wondering if Imperfect Produce is a good fit for you? I gave it a try and here’s how it worked out for me, my review of Imperfect Produce.

apples from imperfect produce

A few months ago I heard about this company called Imperfect Produce. The concept of their business was to help farmers get blemished and surplus produce to the consumer, thereby reducing food waste and helping consumers reduce their budgets. 

I love this concept!

I followed them on Instagram and subscribed to their newsletter in anticipation of when they would start delivering to my neighborhood. I never got the email, but I did spy an IP order on a friend’s IG feed and followed up with her.

I was so giddy to sign up, I didn’t even think to ask her if there was a way to get a discount. There is.

(If you sign up with a friend’s referral link, you get a $10 credit. Here’s my referral link: http://imprfct.us/mceDR . To be clear, I would receive a credit toward a future order when you do.)

ugly oranges from imperfect produce

So after getting signed up on a Thursday, I eagerly awaited Monday afternoon when I could view my order and customize it. My girls and I had such fun doing this!

And even more fun unboxing it when the order came on Thursday. The girls remember the last time we belonged to a produce co-op and what fun it was to open the box and sort the produce.

There were some very ugly oranges in there, my 10 yo was quick to point out! Ha! She was hilarious when I posted it on Instagram.

array of vegetables from imperfect produce

The Scoop on Imperfect Produce

I ended up ordering three different times from Imperfect Produce. Here are my thoughts.

The produce is imperfect.

You will find super big or super small items as well as those with cosmetic blemishes. This doesn’t bother me in the slightest as long as the quality and taste are good. 

The downside of that, however, is that if you order expecting a certain size butternut squash and a very tiny squash arrives, one about the size of a medium potato, (see above) your meal plan may take a hit.

That happened to me with the above squash. I had a certain recipe in mind when I ordered that didn’t really pan out because what arrived was different than I expected.

Even though I could customize my order, there were some things that ended up going to waste, namely pears and green bell peppers. Mostly because I didn’t get to choose them and they weren’t really to my liking.

The pears didn’t ripen well and the peppers were green. Avocados didn’t seem to ripen well either.

screen shot from imperfect produce skip order

The ordering process is simple.

I really did enjoy the ordering process. I had from Monday afternoon to Tuesday at midnight to customize my order. I could take what they automatically included, subtract what I didn’t want, or add extras.

I love the feature of being able to skip a week whenever you want. 

The downside was that some item descriptions weren’t super specific. Bell peppers were listed as green, red, or yellow, but they always came as green.

The kind we don’t like.

So, again, I’d order, hoping for red or yellow, and then get green, another little fastball at my meal plan.

imperfect produce order screenshot

The prices are okay.

You know that I am a grocery geek. You also know that I already get pretty killer prices on fresh fruits and vegetables, thanks to ALDI and Sprouts sales. I admit, this makes it really hard for Imperfect Produce to compete with. For me, the prices were just okay.

Since there’s a delivery charge, it really doesn’t pencil out for me at this time.

The upside of this is that your mileage may vary. If you don’t have ALDI or Sprouts sales to draw from, then Imperfect Produce may be a bargain for you.

For me, price is one of the main factors I buy something. Using it well in my meal plan is a second. Unfortunately, Imperfect Produce didn’t score too highly on either count.

While I believe that food waste is an important cause, it isn’t as important to me globally as eliminating food waste in my own home. 

screen shot of imperfect produce text

The customer service is fantastic.

When the delivery day arrived, I would get a text when the driver was close as well as one after the box was delivered. This was helpful to make sure that the box didn’t sit on our western-facing doorstep in the afternoon sun. 

The email system works well to notify you when it’s time to customize your order or skip it altogether.

I didn’t have any issue that I really needed customer service for, but I did fill out a survey, offering input on the pricing. I received a personalized email in return explaining their pricing structure (they try to be aware of local sales and still give the farmer a decent return) as well as a coupon code for a discount in the future.

imperfect produce delivery boxes

Imperfect Produce may be a great fit for you.

I’d say that if Imperfect Produce delivers to your area and you like fresh produce and can be flexible on size and condition, then it very well may be a good fit for you. You should at least give it a try. Especially if you don’t like grocery shopping.

I think it comes down to a meal plan personality thing. If you’re up for the challenge and surprise, then definitely give it a shot!

Will I ever order again? Probably. For the novelty of it and to support a good cause, I’m all in.

From a practical standpoint, it’s just not the best choice for me at this time. I’ll likely not do it very often, unless I see some great prices.

Remember, you can get $10 off your first order when you use my referral link to sign up.

Have you tried Imperfect Produce?

The Scoop on Imperfect Produce | Good Cheap Eats

About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

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Comments

  1. Victoria Eaton says

    I like your review, but it’s misleading to not share that you, too, get a kickback from random readers using your referral link. Full disclosure, please.

    • My apologies if that wasn’t clear, Victoria. There is a disclosure at the top of EVERY POST on this site whether or not that post contains affiliate links.

      We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. We participate in other affiliate programs as well. For more details, please see our disclosure policy.

    • Anna says

      Who cares… You get a discount, they get a discount. Are we offended by discounts now? Jeesh.

  2. Stacy Hurt says

    I wanted it to work. I would try to customize my box taking out items we dont use and try to add more potatoes or low end products only to be told they were sold out. that left only the more expensive ones like berries; artichokes etc. I also found that we got several avocados and they were awful and inedible in just a matter of days. My small bis is down to like 5.00 since I cant get more of the root vegetables and dont want the expensive ones (Cos I can go to the store if that’s all the same).

  3. Amy Lathrop says

    I’m with you, Jessica. My husband and I just decided yesterday that we need to cut that from our grocery budget because, even though it’s fun, it’s not worth it. Sprouts is cheaper and, frankly, yummier. However, the two or three months that I got boxes from them did spark my interest and begin to grow a new love for different fruits and veggies.
    I will probably buy oyster mushrooms and Padrón peppers and chard (actually, I’m going to try to grow my own) once in awhile. I was in a grocery shopping rut. Just buying the same fruits and veg every week. Now I am more likely to add a few new things to my cart ?

    • Yeah, I’m bummed that it wasn’t more fruitful. lol. I buy the Shishito peppers at Sprouts, big bag for $1.99. Super good!

  4. It’s a great Idea, has some bugs to work out, you didn’t mention enough on quantities or actual cost of the box ( total). Produce is high with Peapod ( I can’t walk well enough to do my own grocery shop & no longer drive) it might work, but if it’s like the usual farm CSA, the bulk can be heavy towards what’s in season & crop ready each week. I buy greens but need staple vegetables in certain amounts. I don’t care what color my peppers are but need 6-8 not 2. & 4 cucumbers not 1. I can’t go to the grocery store to correct differences. We use a Meat CSA that works for us, the price is good, but chicken is very limited & turkey not at all, so I’m still buying those at market prices. That’s how I see this. I grew up on a farm, the imperfects & bumper crops we couldn’t sell are what we ate & preserved for winter. It’s hard to plan meals around that in my current situation. However, I really appreciate this article & your doing the research & trial, it saves me having to talk Hubs into it, then having it not pan out. Thank you so much for this article.

    • Ah, the prices are in one of the pictures. Hopefully, you can see them clearly enough. You can edit your order to adjust the quantities or omit things that you don’t like. It’s highly customizable in terms of quantity, but price and actual condition of the items (in terms of size) is out of your control. You do get to see the prices before you buy, though, so that is helpful.

      • Thanks for the reply. My vision isn’t too great, one reason I no longer drive, so I can’t see the small details in the photos. I do thank you for such a quick reply, on a Sunday no less. It is an interesting option for those it could work for. I really miss our community garden plot, we raised a lot of our own Organic Produce in that small patch. I’m looking forward to more interesting emails from goodcheapeats.

  5. Rochelle says

    Aww I’m sad. I was super excited to have the experience of delivery veggies! I know there are other services like Hungry Harvest ( I may have the name wrong). I wonder if their prices are lower. Even though I haven’t compared, I’m willing to bet that Aldi does have better prices.

    • Sad because they don’t deliver to your area? Or sad because prices might not be the best? I think the latter is really going to depend on season, availability, and location. Your mileage may vary from mine.

  6. Kelly Cook says

    I’m hoping they get to my area soon, but I am likely to feel the same way you do.

  7. Cheryl says

    I’m in Ohio and currently they don’t offer delivery in our area. I love the concept of purchasing ugly produce, have in the past when we were farmer market regulars. There was a news story last year that Meijer (local grocery store) was going to have a section for the ugly produce. I haven’t seen it at our local store, but know they have them in Michigan.
    Fingers crossed we get something soon

  8. Pat says

    Sorry it didn’t work for you! They don’t deliver in Nebraska yet and I think I’ll stick with Aldi’s and Fresh Thyme and the farmer we support every year. They open this Wednesday and we used to spend about $20 a week. Their watermelons and cantaloupes are awesome!
    We used to do Bountiful Basket but they stopped and we’ve tried Fresh Produce but I can usually have better luck at the store.

    • I think it’s a great concept, but it is really going to vary by location and individual household.

  9. Sabella Hess says

    Although I love the concept, and I loved the fun of picking my items and unboxing everything when the box arrived, I did find that unfortunately, the quality was hit and miss, especially the fruit. Also, and I’m not at all sure why, but things did not seem to ripen correctly. We eventually cancelled the service because of these issues, as well as often not being able to get what I wanted (ie the bell peppers, and regularly used vegetables like lettuce almost never available), and overall better prices and quality we found at the grocery stores. Sad, I would have loved for it to be just what we wanted.

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