Misfit foods repurposed

So much of our food is thrown away leading to waste as well as methane producing landfills. On CBS Morning News on Saturday, October 12, two companies were highlighted that are repurposing imperfect or misfit foods. These are foods that get passed over by restaurants and grocers due to blemishes, unusual shapes, or less than expected color. Per CBS:

“USDA guidelines separate fruits and vegetables into grades based on things like size and color. Large volume retailers, including supermarkets, often follow those strict beauty standards. That’s led to 10 million tons of cosmetically imperfect or unharvested food being lost each year.

But one man’s trash has become another man’s treasure for Ben Chesler, who saw ‘imperfect produce’ as the perfect recipe and name for a new business model.

‘The goal was really to fix a part of the food system,’ Chesler said. ‘Starting with produce and then eventually moving into the wider food system, we could solve the environmental impact of all the food going to waste, we could make food more affordable for people and we could start to take a small bite out of this whole problem of food deserts where we could actually deliver healthy produce to people for more affordable than the grocery store.’

The ugly produce movement has grown into a competitive field with companies like Misfits Market and Hungry Harvest all fighting for a share.”

Not only are these repurposed foods saving waste, they are helping consumers save money. Plus, it is a sustainable model. Some distributors threw food away rather than donate it to food pantries because of the trucking and loading/ unloading costs.

From the Imperfect Foods website (see below):

“Imperfect Foods was founded in 2015 with a mission to reduce food waste and build a better food system for everyone. We offer imperfect (yet delicious) produce, affordable pantry items, and quality eggs and dairy. We deliver them conveniently to our customers’ doorsteps and pride ourselves on offering up to a 30% discount compared to grocery store prices. Our customers can get the healthy, seasonal produce they want alongside the grocery staples they rely on, without having to compromise their budget or values. We’re proving that doing the right thing for the planet doesn’t have to cost more, and that shopping for quality ingredients can support the people and resources that it takes to grow our favorite foods.”

From the Misfits Markets website (see below):

“A common misconception is that fruits and vegetables only look strange if something is wrong with them or they are genetically modified (GMO). Quite the opposite: All-natural produce is apt to look funkier than the picture-perfect kind that is engineered in a lab. Unfortunately, misfit fruits and vegetables are often rejected by grocery stores and supermarkets due to natural imperfections or variations in size. A watermelon that has its weight distributed oddly may develop harmless scarring. Carrots grow into each other and look twisted. Peppers get blemishes from the ground. Apples fall and get bruised. All are perfectly normal, nutritious and tasty, and they shouldn’t be discarded. The produce we source may also be a misfit for reasons beyond an ugly appearance. Sometimes a farm’s customers may have over-ordered an item that they requested be prepped a certain way—e.g., just the root without the green—or they can no longer afford to pay for an order of normal produce. We’ll pick up the slack so that farmers still make money from excess produce and nothing goes to waste.”

Please check them out and see if they serve your area.



15 thoughts on “Misfit foods repurposed

  1. Note to Readers: There is also a charity group worth mentioning that helps feed the hungry and reduce food waste called The Society of St. Andrew. In essence, volunteers will glean unpicked crops from fields. Here is more on what they do:


  2. Ah, we too in the UK, have these ‘perfection guidelines’ for produce (an EU rule for consistency of product). This year though, Supermarkets have introduced the concept of ‘wonky vegetables’ and ‘wonky fruit,’ selling the misfits at a lower price and well labelled to get around EU rulings. They are very popular with consumers, often selling out before their higher priced counterparts.
    Another venture that is in testing ground at a number of stores, is to box up a variety of vegetables and fruit that is about to reach its ‘best before’ dates. The food is a quite large amount for a mere £1 to £1.50 for enough fresh goods to feed a family of four for a day.
    Another very common practice is to sell off (30% off to 50%off)fresh goods on their last best before date and placed on a special refrigerated shelf. Towards the end of the day (usually around 4pm), as people leave work for home, the last remaining goods are marked down to mere pennies. They fly off the shelf, leaving little waste for disposal.

    • Thanks Colette. I like the sales toward the end of shelf life. This CBS News episode noted that the farmers sometimes intervene to perfect vegetables and fruits. Apparently, cauliflower will grow with a slightlu yellow shade unless the farmer does something to change the paradigm. Keith

      • It seems crazy to me, to mess with food. I am not a big fan of GMO stuff and I think it is terrible that the US and Canada allows inclusion of it in foodstuffs to unwary consumers. Labelling is not required by law. Here in UK, GMO is not acceptable in any form without labelling it clearly and Europe has banned it up to now.

      • Colette, let me respond to your leftover comment above and this one here. Throwing away leftovers to me is just a waste a money and, in some case, a better taste the second and third time as seasons marinate together. We doctor up dishes like you said you do, when we need a little variety. If we have a meal that needs a salad, we make a basic salad that will last for three or four meals – various greens, tomatoes, onions. Then, with each ensuing salad, we dress it up adding a more fruit and nut version to each bowl one day, adding olives, cheese, croutons the next time and so on. We alter dressings as well.

        As for GMOs, labeling is needed To me, there is good GMO and bad GMO. To many products get sugar to make us addicted to them. The end product is too sweet and huge. This is one reason Americans are the most obese nation in the world. But, we need labelling. Thanks for all of your comments, Keith

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