This is not a sponsored review, just my own opinionated rambling. If you’re interested in trying Imperfect Produce, here is a link for $10 off our first box: http://imprfct.us/v/casey_515. Yes, in full transparency, it’s a referral code that will also benefit me if you choose to use it. Unlike for Misfits Market, I couldn’t find a generic “welcome” coupon.
Over a year ago, I started having problems with my Misfits Market boxes. Almost every box came with damaged or rotten food, and on one occasion, the box was only filled with half the amount of produce I paid for. All in all, it seemed like our relationship was heading for the rocks. I had also started seeing ads for “Imperfect Produce” floating around my social media pages (hello, targeted advertising). I decided to pause my Misfit deliveries, and give another company toting “reduced food waste and healthier eating” a shot.
Imperfect Produce (now Imperfect Foods) was founded in 2015, almost 3 years before Misfits Market. Because they were further along in their business model, they had managed to have the time and resources to work out some of the kinks Misfit Market was still in the middle of. This is further evidenced by how the changes that Misfit Market has recently undergone seem to be very similar to the Imperfect Foods business model.
The first thing that attracted me to Imperfect Foods was how its box assembly works. With Misfit Market, your box is mostly a surprise. They have added the capability for some degree of choice in what produce your box contains, but for the most part, you get what Misfit Market chooses to give you, unless you’re specifically buying items from the “add on” market (at an up-charge, of course).
With Imperfect, they are assembled more as an online market. Several days before your box is scheduled for delivery, you are given a “selection window” of 2-3 days, during which you can choose exactly what items are placed in your box. Considering how many times I ended up wasting vegetables from Misfit Market because I couldn’t find a way to work it into my every day meals (there’s only so much you can do with beets), this was incredibly appealing to me.
Second, Imperfect Foods recently expanded to offer more than just fruits and veg, hence the name change. Now not only could I shop produce, I could shop grains, canned goods, cheese, dairy-alternatives, pantry staples, snacks, and meat. Imperfect Foods has partner with many food distributors to not only rescue “imperfect produce,” but overstock items, items that are pulled from the shelf due to package changes, meat that was trimmed into irregular shapes during creation of the perfectly formed cutlets we see in the grocery store or restaurants. Some of what they offer is mainstream product (they recently started carrying the Beyond Meat ground beef alternative), but most of what they have is “rescued” in some way.
How do I know this? Because they tell you! In the Imperfect Market, each item is listed with it’s quantity/approximate weight, it’s imperfection (or if it’s “not imperfect, just part of their mission to bring you a variety of items at a good price”), whether or not it’s organic, and it’s source of origin.
Yes, two of the specific qualms I named in my Misfit Market review are addressed in Imperfect Foods. Not only does Imperfect Foods carry both organic and conventional items, but they also identify the source of every single item they carry in their market.
Packaging and Delivery. When I first started my Misfits Market subscription, I was incredibly impressed by their biodegradable, minimal plastic packaging. Imperfect Foods has a similar model. In fact, depending on where you live, Imperfect Foods will even take back your packaging to reuse or properly dispose of (obviously this practice had been postponed during the COVID-19 pandemic). Also in many areas, Imperfect Produce has their own designated delivery system, mean there is a much lower chance of some careless FedEx guy tossing your box at your door upside down (yes that happened).
I would say that the only downside I’ve found with Imperfect is their cost. Instead of charging the “flat rate” price per box as Misfit Market did, Imperfect instead has a “minimum price” that you have to meet for your box to ship – $45. With an additional $8.99 shipping cost, these boxes get expensive very quickly. And we still do a regular grocery shop in the store to get things that aren’t available through Imperfect. Imperfect, Misfit Market, is also unable to accept SNAP benefits, but after some research, that has more to do with SNAP restrictions than from lack of effort on either company’s part.
This review isn’t mean to “diss” Misfit Market. Both Misfits and Imperfect have found a way to address our massive food waste problem, and they both do a lot of work with food banks and underserved communities. If you are someone who eats a great deal of plants in your diet, or if eating organic is high on your priority list, or you’re interested in trying new things (I do miss the watermelon radishes), or if you’re looking for a lower cost option, Misfits Market might be better for you (and you’re still welcome to go to my Misfit review and use the coupon link). But if variety is your game, and you (like me) prefer to know what you’re getting before it arrives, Imperfect might suit your needs better.