Company delivers ‘ugly’ produce rejected by stores

6 billion pounds of produce is wasted each year

Imperfect Produce delivers fruits and vegetables rejected by grocery stores at 30-50% less than you'd normally pay. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A San Fransicso Bay Area company that embraces “ugly” produce is taking off like wildfire and just kicked off business in Portland.

The company is called Imperfect Produce, and its goal is to put an end to the 6 billion pounds of produce wasted each year in the United States.

Ben Simon’s company Imperfect Produce delivers fruits and vegetables rejected by grocery stores at 30-50% less than you’d normally pay. (KOIN)

Imperfect Produce’s packaging center in Clackamas is a sort of rescue shelter for cosmetically challenged fruits and vegetables. The company celebrates and shares twisted, disfigured and sometimes crazy looking produce and sells it at 30-50% less than grocery stores.

“Every grocery store, they want their produce section to be pristine and beautiful,” CEO Ben Simon said. “They assume that because an onion is too small or a melon has a little bit of scarring on the outside that the customer isn’t going to want that.”

Most of the ugly produce would go to waste on farms, rejected by grocery stores for its appearance. The food only looks imperfect. Imperfect Produce says just because the produce is too small, misshapen or the wrong color, doesn’t mean it tastes bad.

“We’ve got all these beauty standards in every other facet of life and now our produce as well,” Simon said.”It’s like the grocery store is actually calling this produce ugly by saying you’re not good enough to be in here. Farmers love us because it’s extra revenue for them that they normally wouldn’t have from product that would have gone to animal feed or compost or to the landfill.”

The company started in the Bay Area and also operates in Los Angeles and Orange County, but Simon said it was a no-brainer to bring it to Portland because of the area’s continuing efforts at sustainability, recycling and ending waste.

Imperfect Produce will deliver close to 1,500 boxes by the end of its first week in Portland.

New customers in Portland can get $10 off their first box with the code HELLOPDX