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Any experience with Imperfect Foods?


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They keep popping up in my facebook feed. I'm interested but skeptical. Anyone have experience/comments on their food, their prices, etc? I do like the idea of keeping actual edible food out of the trash stream! But $5-9 a week in delivery costs... that would add up fast unless the prices offset it (at least somewhat). The intersection of needing to not spend a lot of $$, while also shopping as ethically as possible, is tough.

https://www.imperfectfoods.com/

ETA: in case this has been discussed before... I did search! Happy to be pointed to a past thread if there is one.

Edited by marbel
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I've used them and it can be great sometimes and terrible other times.  The nice thing is I can get stuff I can't buy locally.   Leeks and fennel to name a couple.  But, they have messed up several of my boxes.  The biggest reason I quit using them is because they ship via FedEx.  Damaged boxes, late shipments (and in the dead of summer this means delicate produce in a hot box for too long.  They include ice packs but buy the time I have received it the ice pack has long thawed and condensation is everywhere in the box). 

I understand the point is to save produce from being thrown away, but sometimes I get stuff that isn't edible.  Kale that has turned yellow, tomatoes long past being worth eating.  Not to mention some of the more delicate product takes a beating in the box.  Lettuce leaves strewn about, squished apricots.

Anyway, I would recommend giving it a try.. you may get a great box.  If you are closer to a fulfillment center, maybe the contents of the box will stay more intact.  I think it is a good service, but considering the $9 shipping and some of the contents being inedible, I feel I can do just as well locally. 

 

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I used it for 3 months. My first box was great. The next two were not. The produce wasn't bad, but the packaging was terrible. I had a whole carton of eggs dump out and I had smashed eggs all over everything.  I called customer service and while they refunded the cost of the eggs, there wasn't an apology or any sense of it being a big deal. I spent at least an hour cleaning up the mess.

The next box had smashed products again, like someone had thrown my box down a flight of steps. Several products were ruined.  I didn't even bother with customer service.  I just cancelled my subscription.

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Several of my neighbors get the organic boxes. For them, it’s a cost savings and they get a wider variety than they would normally buy. They are motivated by primarily non-price considerations—ease of delivery, diverting food from landfills, etc. They have not had delivery concerns.

When I priced things out compared to my normal list of mostly non-organic stuff, it didn’t make sense financially for me to order. 

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I've wanted to try Imperfect Foods but they don't deliver to my zip code. We get two boxes a week from Misfits Market, which is usually very good, and also order from The Chef's Garden, which is expensive but worth it because the quality of their greens and veggies is outstanding. 

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I've heard good and bad experiences with them. I liked the concept but the cost and unusable items received by those I spoke with (a couple of people mentioned beyond over ripe and near-expiring fruits and veggies) outweighed my initial interest.

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Produce quality is good. Selections are limited, but sometimes surprising. Availability varies.
Great prices on grain products, nuts, etc.

Customer service is outstanding. The few times I had missing items or something that wilted during shipping, they replied very fast and refunded the money.

If you are outside of major metro areas, the boxes will take a few days to travel. They are packaged with cool packs and insulating material; however, at the height of summer, I would not recommend ordering leafy vegetables or very soft fruit.

My DD is using them extensively; prices compare to prices in her city. I use it occasionally since most items are much more expensive than locally; I want to keep my subscription to have an additional supply line. You can go to every-other week delivery and also easily skip deliveries.

Edited by regentrude
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Thanks for all the comments. I do live in a large metro area and without signing up, it looks like here it's a co-op or CSA-type delivery - they said they deliver to my zip code on Fridays - that doesn't sound like UPS.  I may just go ahead and sign up and take a look. Stories of smashed eggs puts me off. I don't want to depend on getting something that is a staple in my house, and find that after the delivery I have to go to the store anyway. That's part of why I gave up on Instacart (though of course to be fair to them, I was using them in the height of grocery store craziness).  Appreciate the responses!

 

 

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I tried them for a while and am supportive of the cause, but the experience was not good and I would not use them again. For one thing, I found that their prices for "imperfect" foods were actually higher than the regular prices at Trader Joe's. And a lot of what they sell is what they call overruns or surplus, and they would list a "regular price" and then their supposedly-heavily-discounted "sale price" which would often turn out to still be higher than local prices. The biggest issue I had with them, though, was terrible packing — everything was just thrown together in a box. You can't toss a dozen eggs into a box with a 32 oz container of yogurt and a large cantaloupe and not expect the eggs to get smashed. One time I also had a package of meat get smashed to the point the plastic packaging split and I had to throw out the meat and wash everything off. After two shipments in a row where eggs got smashed and I had to wash raw egg goo off all my produce, I cancelled.

ETA: Another issue is that it didn't really save time or gas, because their selection was limited enough that in order to get everything I needed, I always had to either go to a store myself or order a second delivery from another place anyway, which meant two delivery fees or tips instead of one.

Edited by Corraleno
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I don't think any of these companies are keeping food out of the trash and it's a gimmick to claim they do.  Maybe people in the produce aisles only buy perfect-looking produce, but commercial buyers who are processing the stuff aren't going to care about perfect shapes and sizes.  If you could get this stuff at a discount, it would make sense, but I'm not sure that's the case. I think they're all cleverly disguised CSA's, but not necessarily local.

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I get a Misfits Market box every two weeks.  I've been getting it for about four months now and love it.  I mostly just get the fresh produce.  I get the biggest box they offer every other week, but lately I've been thinking about going to a smaller size and getting one every week instead.  

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46 minutes ago, KungFuPanda said:

I don't think any of these companies are keeping food out of the trash and it's a gimmick to claim they do.  Maybe people in the produce aisles only buy perfect-looking produce, but commercial buyers who are processing the stuff aren't going to care about perfect shapes and sizes.  If you could get this stuff at a discount, it would make sense, but I'm not sure that's the case. I think they're all cleverly disguised CSA's, but not necessarily local.

I don't think there's a need to disguise a CSA.    Processors do care a lot about size and shape and if there are blemishes.  Imperfect produce doesn't fit in their processing equipment, and blemishes take time to even consider removing, let alone actually removing them.  

I don't feel that I'm getting a discount on my produce compared to going and buying it myself, but hey, I'm getting produce delivered and it kept me out of a grocery store this week.  I think I spend about the same as if I bought them in the store, but so far, I've gotten perfectly ready to eat avocados in every box, and it's been a long time since I've seen some close to ready at the grocery store.  🙂

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15 hours ago, Lady Marmalade said:

I get a Misfits Market box every two weeks.  I've been getting it for about four months now and love it.  I mostly just get the fresh produce.  I get the biggest box they offer every other week, but lately I've been thinking about going to a smaller size and getting one every week instead.  

Are you able to pick the produce that you want each week?

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5 hours ago, Kanin said:

Are you able to pick the produce that you want each week?

If you want to.  🙂  You have the option of picking or getting a surprise box.  I have yet to go in for a full surprise, but I've been thinking about it.  Generally, the produce is sorted into 3 or 4 groups, and you go through each group picking a few options out of each.  So, in the first group of produce items you'll see about 12 options, and you are told to pick 6.  Then in the second group you'll be told again to pick 6 or sometimes 4.  Then the third group comes along and you can pick 4 or 2. Then you come to the a la carte portion where they offer up cartons of berries or bags of produce like green beans or brussels sprouts where they charge you per package on top of your market box.  There are options to add mushrooms, bread products, pastas, snacks, beverages, etc. All at additional costs to you. 

With the produce you pick, you do not pick quantity, and it still isn't a guarantee.  I've had items come that I didn't have on my order, and I've had times where I ask for something like turnips and I get two tiny little turnips.  But then there are times I'll say yes to a radish bunch and I get two massive bundles of radishes.  I've also had times where I asked for something and it wasn't in my box, but something else was.  They still try to keep the same value to the box if they go to pack your box and they've run out of your requested items. 

I've been especially pleased this winter with radishes, broccoli, celery, heads of lettuce, and Swiss Chard.  Big, beautiful bunches- way better than what I've seen at the stores.  At the same time, I no longer order cucumbers because I've had too many show up on the verge of going bad, or with a smushed spot already in place.  The last time I ordered gingerroot they put seven HUGE knobs in my box.  Here is a picture I took to share on FB of one of my boxes.

misfits-e1613672965626.jpg

I'm impatiently waiting for my box to show up today so I can plan out tonight's dinner.  I think I know what's coming, but I'd like to be certain before I finalize what I'm preparing. 

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47 minutes ago, Lady Marmalade said:

If you want to.  🙂  You have the option of picking or getting a surprise box.  I have yet to go in for a full surprise, but I've been thinking about it.  Generally, the produce is sorted into 3 or 4 groups, and you go through each group picking a few options out of each.  So, in the first group of produce items you'll see about 12 options, and you are told to pick 6.  Then in the second group you'll be told again to pick 6 or sometimes 4.  Then the third group comes along and you can pick 4 or 2. Then you come to the a la carte portion where they offer up cartons of berries or bags of produce like green beans or brussels sprouts where they charge you per package on top of your market box.  There are options to add mushrooms, bread products, pastas, snacks, beverages, etc. All at additional costs to you. 

With the produce you pick, you do not pick quantity, and it still isn't a guarantee.  I've had items come that I didn't have on my order, and I've had times where I ask for something like turnips and I get two tiny little turnips.  But then there are times I'll say yes to a radish bunch and I get two massive bundles of radishes.  I've also had times where I asked for something and it wasn't in my box, but something else was.  They still try to keep the same value to the box if they go to pack your box and they've run out of your requested items. 

I've been especially pleased this winter with radishes, broccoli, celery, heads of lettuce, and Swiss Chard.  Big, beautiful bunches- way better than what I've seen at the stores.  At the same time, I no longer order cucumbers because I've had too many show up on the verge of going bad, or with a smushed spot already in place.  The last time I ordered gingerroot they put seven HUGE knobs in my box.  Here is a picture I took to share on FB of one of my boxes.

misfits-e1613672965626.jpg

I'm impatiently waiting for my box to show up today so I can plan out tonight's dinner.  I think I know what's coming, but I'd like to be certain before I finalize what I'm preparing. 

That's a nice looking assortment! Is that frisee? I would order just for that, lol. I haven't checked out MIsfits Market yet, but Imperfect Foods didn't seem like it would save us any money, and that is definitely a consideration lately.

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2 hours ago, dsmith said:

That's a nice looking assortment! Is that frisee? I would order just for that, lol. I haven't checked out MIsfits Market yet, but Imperfect Foods didn't seem like it would save us any money, and that is definitely a consideration lately.

Yes! We had a couple boxes in a row that had heads of frisee.  We loved it! It lasted so much longer and stayed fresher than any other heads of lettuce.  We quickly got used to using it on sandwiches and in salads instead of lettuce.  I keep hoping it makes another appearance because we really liked it. 

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I looked at one or the other that is now available in my area, and their example box was definitely a higher cost than the local grocery store. If I'm going to pay retail, I might as well pick exactly what I want. 

On 2/17/2021 at 2:58 PM, KungFuPanda said:

I don't think any of these companies are keeping food out of the trash and it's a gimmick to claim they do.  

Even if it does have that effect, I think it's counter-balanced by all the resources put into packaging and shipping it. I think the food going into the trash would likely be the more ecological choice overall. So, I'd say get it if you want it, not because you think getting it is a good deed. 

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I tried a misfits market basket when there was a 50% off coupon.  Things were a bit bumped up but everything was still useable.  I found the price  (even at 50% off) to be high for what I would spend but my typical produce purchases are whatever produce is on a great sale that week with a few carefully selected at the grocery store that meet my price point.  If nothing is available at my price point we just don't have fresh that week but since I have a huge stock of canned, frozen, dehydrated, or in long term fresh storage produce, it's not a big deal if we skip fresh.  I can see if your normally shopping methods is to just buy what you need each week especially if you are buying organic, it could be an okay price.  It is convenient to have stuff just show up at your door so that could be a deciding factor but I don't believe you will ever "save" money on these boxes.

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Can people share what the packaging for Misfit Markets is like and what you do with it?  I have seen the ads and am interested.  But I cannot stand dealing with a steady stream of freezer packs.  We have frozen pet food delivered each month and it comes with a return label to mail back all of the packaging and freezer packs.....which I appreciate.  Even if shipping it back uses as much resources as dumping it all would, I at least don't have to figure out how to dispose of it all.  Our local shipping store used to take freezer packs and other reusable shipping supplies but has now ceased due to Covid.  I am guessing like a lot of other things, they might never go back to taking it. 

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10 hours ago, skimomma said:

Can people share what the packaging for Misfit Markets is like and what you do with it?  I have seen the ads and am interested.  But I cannot stand dealing with a steady stream of freezer packs.  We have frozen pet food delivered each month and it comes with a return label to mail back all of the packaging and freezer packs.....which I appreciate.  Even if shipping it back uses as much resources as dumping it all would, I at least don't have to figure out how to dispose of it all.  Our local shipping store used to take freezer packs and other reusable shipping supplies but has now ceased due to Covid.  I am guessing like a lot of other things, they might never go back to taking it. 

My Misfits order comes in a large cardboard box that is lined with "fluffy" brown paper packing.  It's like a giant bubble mailer made of paper that cushions the whole box.  Right now because it's cold out, they are not coming with freezer packs, but when they were coming, they were large plastic packs that specifically said on them that they were filled with a septic, disposal and plant safe liquid.  I would just snip the corner and drain it into the sink and then throw out the plastic.   DH really likes the outer box.  He keeps saving them to use in the attic.  They would be the perfect size for passing on as moving boxes. 

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I have tried Imperfect Produce two separate times. The first time was ok, but not worth the expense. The second time I tried was at the start of the pandemic. The first box was great. The second box had a bulging can of crab meat that I asked to be refunded. The third box never shipped, but they charged me for it.  I had to argue a little to get them to refund it, and it took over a week to get the money back. We dropped the service after that and won't go back to using it. 

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13 hours ago, skimomma said:

Can people share what the packaging for Misfit Markets is like and what you do with it?  I have seen the ads and am interested.  But I cannot stand dealing with a steady stream of freezer packs.  We have frozen pet food delivered each month and it comes with a return label to mail back all of the packaging and freezer packs.....which I appreciate.  Even if shipping it back uses as much resources as dumping it all would, I at least don't have to figure out how to dispose of it all.  Our local shipping store used to take freezer packs and other reusable shipping supplies but has now ceased due to Covid.  I am guessing like a lot of other things, they might never go back to taking it. 

Food banks will often take them.  And there is a need on local Facebook pages for them.  As soon as they are listed, people grab them.

Edited by itsheresomewhere
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