Guess what? Welcome to a tiny sliver of the internet NOT talking about coronavirus. I trust you to go get necessary information from reliable sources, and that’s just not me. Stay safe and healthy. If I learn of things we can do to help, I’ll put it on the Food Shelf Friday Facebook page.
A couple weeks ago I decided to try Imperfect Foods. You’ve heard of them, I’m sure. They have ads on social media with the funny looking twisted carrots. The concept of Imperfect is that they take the foods (originally just produce) that are rejected by grocery stores, and they home deliver it to consumers at a discount, thus reducing food waste. I finally decided to try it because I hoped that it would also encourage us to eat more vegetables and fruits.
Here’s how it works: you sign up for a weekly delivery, with the package size based on how many people you plan to feed. Since there are just two of us living at home now, we ordered the smallest package. You can choose from conventional or organic produce, then add eggs and dairy, meat and seafood, snacks, or grains. You will be assigned a weekly delivery day, and if you do nothing else, you will get a box of those items every week.
If you prefer to customize (and who doesn’t?!), you’ll be given a window of time each week in which to do that. You log in to your account where you can remove the items you don’t like. You’ll also have a chance to add items.
So what does Imperfect offer?
The produce packages contain in-season fruits and vegetables. Some of them are simply overstock. Other items are off-size or funny looking. If you’ve ever had a garden, you know that fruits and vegetables don’t grow in perfect, uniform shapes and sizes. Both of my first boxes have contained undersized citrus fruits (among many other things). This week I got carrots, and one was oddly lumpy. Guess what happened when I peeled and chopped the carrot? Nothing! It was just a normal carrot. That’s why Imperfect exists!
This week I got some shrimp pieces in my my meat and seafood box. It’s high-quality, wild-caught shrimp that would normally cost a lot more than what I paid. According to the packaging, the larger whole shrimp are in demand, but the broken pieces and undersized shrimp are often wasted. This week my husband and I will get to enjoy them at a bargain price, and the fishermen who harvested them got paid!
So far everything we’ve eaten has been just as good as the prettier produce from the grocery store. And not everything from Imperfect is imperfect. Many of the products are simple overstocks. Others are basics that Imperfect offers for your convenience.
On your designated weekly delivery day, a driver brings the box to your front door. Your package arrives in an insulated cardboard box, with the meat items kept separate from the produce. An ice pack has been in both of my boxes to keep things fresh.
After my first delivery, I asked my contact (they assign you someone who texts you when your package is out for delivery) if I could give them back the ice pack or if I would just keep getting a new one each week. He told me that I can just leave my box and ice pack on the front step on delivery day, and they’ll take them back to reuse or recycle.
My first two boxes (produce, meat items, grains, and snacks for two people) ran me $40 – $50 (including the small delivery fee) after I added and subtracted things. In the meantime I have also had to pick up a few things like butter (what Imperfect had last week was too small), milk (what they had last week was too big), and tomato juice. Overall, I’d say that I’m spending about the same amount on groceries as usual, but getting more. I will definitely need a week off soon because we had a lot on hand and aren’t eating things fast enough (though I’m sure we’ll be eating out less now that everyone is social distancing because of the virus).
Overall, subscribing to Imperfect Foods has been a convenient and healthy option that hasn’t wrecked my grocery budget.
No one pays me for my opinions. No one asks me to do reviews. I wanted to try Imperfect, so I did. I thought it was a good fit for the Food Shelf Friday crowd because it’s all about saving food from being wasted, so I blogged about it. If you want to give it a try, use this referral link for $10 off your first order, and I’ll get $10 off my next order, too.