An unexpected way to save on fresh produce is to get food that’s a little uglier. Yep, you’re probably paying a premium for picture-perfect produce. And that’s where companies like Imperfect Foods come in.
Imperfect Foods is a service that brings the beauty of “ugly” produce straight to your doorstep. With a focus on sustainability and saving a buck, they offer your favorite veggies and fruits at a discount.
Stay tuned as we unpack all the juicy details about this service, alongside some nifty tips to make your wallet happier when buying fruits and veggies.
What is imperfect or “ugly” produce?
“Ugly” produce are fruits and vegetables that are difficult for traditional grocery stores to sell because they’re too small, weirdly shaped, or otherwise not in line with a consumer’s expectations.
However, this doesn’t mean bruised fruit or produce past its date. This isn’t low-quality stuff. It’s really just produce that’s funny looking but just as high in quality as its more beautiful counterpart.
Imperfect Foods is the leading service where you can get this “ugly” produce, selling items for up to 40% less than a regular grocery store. Let’s dive in.
What does Imperfect Foods offer?
- What does Imperfect Foods offer? Organic and nonorganic produce, along with all sorts of other groceries
- Where does Imperfect Foods deliver to? Most big cities in the U.S., with a goal to continue expanding. Find out if Imperfect Foods delivers to your area
- Package options: Imperfect Foods offers four different size boxes, all based on weight, not item number. As such, if you’re ordering smaller fruit, you’ll get more pieces for your money. Small organic box (7 – 9 lb) starts at $15, Medium (11 – 14 lb) starts at $22, Large (17 – 19 lb) starts at $33, and X-Large (23 – 25 lb), starts at $39
- Shipping cost: Flat rate of $5.99 per order
- How it works: Sign up and add items to your order. You’ll receive your first delivery within a few days. The next week, you’ll have a shopping window where you can change items out. As long as you opt to skip a week before your shopping window closes, you’ll be able to do so.
Imperfect Produce coupon
Although Imperfect Foods produce coupons aren’t really a thing, Imperfect Foods does offer a referral program. When your friend signs up for deliveries using your unique referral code (which you receive when you sign up), they’ll get $20 off their first order. You’ll receive a $20 credit on your account once they receive their first delivery.
Other Tips for Saving on Produce
Shop at Aldi for overall best produce savings.
Of the grocery stores I compared, Aldi most consistently came in with the lowest prices on popular produce. Four times out of 10 they had the lowest price (bananas, strawberries, carrots, and broccoli), and only one out of ten times did they have the highest price (Roma tomatoes).
Walmart’s produce prices are a mixed bag.
For the produce items I looked at, Walmart had both the most items with the steepest price tags and came in second place for cheapest. That said, the differences in price weren’t astronomical. A few cents per pound in many cases. So you might get the best price on your produce there or you might get the worst price, depending on what you buy.
Grocery Outlet isn’t the discount store you think it is when it comes to produce.
Grocery Outlet, which promises prices lower than traditional grocery stores, isn’t impressive in the produce department. In fact, they don’t look that much cheaper overall than Target or Kroger; not to mention you can’t get a bag of full-size carrots. At least you can’t at my local Grocery Outlet.
Join a produce CSA to get a weekly produce delivery.
CSA stands for “Community Supported Agriculture” — you’ll buy “shares” of a farm’s produce harvest up front, and then once the harvest happens, you get your portion until the season is over.
A CSA typically results in a box of produce every week during spring and summer (sometimes into the fall), but the amount and type of produce varies based on the farm and what’s in season. You don’t handpick what types of produce you want — you get what you get. Additionally, you usually need to pick it up at a location, although many CSAs offer delivery, too.
Here’s what you can expect to see in the spring and summer:
Full-Share of a Produce CSA (one full box of produce every week for 17 weeks): $600 or about $35 per week
Half-Share of a Produce CSA (one half box of produce every week for 17 weeks): $400 or about $25 per week
Here’s an example of everything I’ve received in the past for a one half-share organic CSA delivery, compared to regular retail prices. Keep in mind, I only paid $25.
- 1/2 dozen free range eggs ($3.50)
- 1 bunch cilantro ($1.49)
- 1 container sugar snap peas ($4.69)
- 2 head bok choy ($3.38 each)
- 1 head cauliflower ($6.23)
- 1 cantaloupe ($3.99)
- 2 gala apples ($1.25 each)
- 2 white peaches ($1.68 each)
- 1 yellow onion ($1.34)
- 2 zucchini ($0.68 each)
- 4 carrots ($1)
- 3 cucumbers ($1.49 each)
- 2 tomatoes ($1 each)
- 1 basket strawberries ($5.99)
- 1/2 pound green beans ($5 per pound)
- 1 bag baby spinach ($5)
- 1 bunch romaine ($1.99)
- 1 container shiitake mushrooms ($5, nonorganic)
- 2 white creamer potatoes ($2 each)
- 1 container cherry tomatoes ($3.99 nonorganic)
- 2 head of corn ($5.99 for four)
- 2 navel oranges ($1.41 each)
Total retail value: $76.98 — that’s $51.98 in savings!