Imperfect Produce is Coming to Cleveland, But Does the Service Really Help Curb Food Waste?

click to enlarge Imperfect Produce is Coming to Cleveland, But Does the Service Really Help Curb Food Waste?
Photo courtesy Emily Farrar
Clevelanders can now choose to have wonky fruits and vegetables ferried directly to their front door. The national company Imperfect Produce just launched its services to the Cleveland area today, taking "ugly" leftover fresh produce from farmers, purveyors and growers around the country and sending it to people's homes with a subscription.

As Imperfect Produce reports: "20 percent of all fruits and vegetables grown in the U.S. do not meet the strict cosmetic standards of grocery stores, which results in 20 billion pounds of produce being unharvested or unsold each year."

The company, and venture capital companies like them, instead look to "save" these unwanted items by making people pay for them. And while this all sounds warm and fuzzy in theory, some in the food industry aren't convinced that people purchasing misshapen cucumbers and the like is actually doing anything to solve the world's food waste problems, as farmers are still over-growing their crops.

As the Atlantic reported back in January, the positive impact of these sort of do-good start-ups is hard to prove in such a complex and broken food system. In fact, quite a few think pieces have been written on the subject, calling on different solutions to the food waste issue.

Imperfect Produce has listened to all of these arguments and still maintains that they are saving food from landfills.

"Our mission to eliminate food waste and build a better food system for everyone is not a side-project or afterthought; it’s our reason for being," company co-founder Ben Simon said in a statement.

The company says that since starting in 2015, they have recovered 40 million pounds of ugly fruits and vegetables.

Imperfect Produce subscriptions start at $12. Find out more about the company right here.

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