Imperfect Produce

Reducing Food Waste

Imperfect Produce (IP) was founded by Ben Simon, Ben Chesler, and Ron Clark to reduce “food waste and [increase] food . . . security.” [1] IP estimates that “each year, 20% of the produce grown in America is rejected from grocery stores” because it fails to meet standards regarding color, size, and shape. [2] IP saves this unwanted produce and offers fruits and vegetables that, despite their appearance, are perfectly fresh and nutritious. IP primarily sources produce, both organic and nonorganic, from family farms in California.

Imperfect Produce delivers fruits and vegetables to any home or office in Oakland, Berkeley, Emeryville, Alameda, and Albany. On Saturdays, staff delivers produce to customers’ homes. And individuals can also obtain their orders from a nearby pick-up location on Mondays. Delivery fees are relatively inexpensive ($3 for home deliveries and $1 to get one's order from a pick-up location).

IP staff communicates with customers via the website and the newsletter that provides notifications about new items that have been added to the roster. IP's website gives people the flexibility and freedom to alter their orders. The website uses “a cart-based system” in which customers can “add items (either recurring or one-time orders) . . . [to the cart, and] whatever is in . . . [the cart] at the cut-off time each week . . . becomes . . . [the] weekly order.” [3] This system makes it easy for individuals to change their orders at a moment’s notice.

Also, Imperfect Produce performs an important environmental role. By selling produce that would normally be discarded, IP limits the amount of food that is wasted. IP prevents the waste of not only food but also transporting containers. The boxes that are used to transport individuals’ orders are recyclable. And if customers leave their used boxes outside their homes on Saturday mornings, the IP drivers will take them back to one of the IP warehouses so that they can be reused. Further, offering unwanted produce allows IP to encourage consumers to both appreciate food and rethink their assumptions about the way that vegetables should look.

Cite this Page:

Zenzele Olatunji , “Imperfect Produce ,” Street Stories: Oakland, accessed October 16, 2018,
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