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Imperfect Foods: Revolutionizing Grocery Delivery & Reducing Food Waste

Imperfect Foods is a grocery delivery service that offers customers not only convenience, but also a way to combat food waste. By focusing on selling blemished products that are often excluded from traditional grocers, Imperfect Foods has been able to help alleviate the issue of food loss.

In this article, we’ll delve into the background and founding of Imperfect Foods, explore its social impact, and discuss how their innovative approach to grocery delivery is helping to create a more sustainable food system.

Focus on imperfections

One of the key components that sets Imperfect Foods apart from traditional grocers is its focus on products that are considered “imperfect.” Imperfect Foods believes that these blemished products are just as edible and nutritious as their unblemished counterparts. However, many traditional grocers refuse to carry these products due to their appearance.

Imperfect Foods takes advantage of these rejected products by purchasing them from farmers and producers at a discounted rate, and in turn, selling them to customers at a reduced price. This approach not only helps to combat food waste, but also makes healthy food options more accessible to lower-income households.

Imperfect Foods has also expanded its product offerings beyond fruits and vegetables to include dairy, meat, and pantry staples.

Helping combat food loss

Food loss is a major problem that not only impacts consumers’ wallets, but also has a significant environmental impact. Imperfect Foods is committed to reducing food loss by purchasing products that would typically be discarded, and selling them to customers before they reach their expiration date.

This not only benefits the environment, but also supports local farmers and producers. Since its inception, Imperfect Foods has saved over 145 million pounds of food from going to waste.

This socially responsible approach has earned the attention of investors, resulting in $229.1 million in funding to date.

Background and founding

Imperfect Foods was founded in 2015 by Ben Simon, Benjamin Chesler, and Ron Clark. The three founders met while attending the University of Maryland, where they started a student organization that focused on reducing food waste.

After graduation, they decided to expand their mission and created Imperfect Produce, which was later renamed Imperfect Foods. Initially, Imperfect Foods operated on a community-supported agriculture (CSA) model, which allowed customers to subscribe to receive a box of produce each week.

However, the founders soon realized the logistical challenges of sourcing and distributing produce in this manner. They transitioned to a customizable delivery model, allowing customers to select specific products and delivery dates that fit their schedule.

Imperfect Foods now operates in over 30 states in the United States, and continues to expand. The company has also partnered with national grocery chains such as Whole Foods and Kroger to sell their products in-store.

Funding and food saved

Since its founding, Imperfect Foods has raised $229.1 million in funding. The company’s initial seed round was led by venture capitalist firm Andreessen Horowitz, which allowed them to expand beyond their initial California market.

In 2018, Imperfect Foods raised $72 million in a series C funding, led by Insight Venture Partners. This funding has allowed Imperfect Foods to continue to grow and expand their offerings.

As previously mentioned, the company has saved over 145 million pounds of food from going to waste since its founding. This significant impact on reducing food loss is a testament to the company’s commitment to creating a more sustainable food system.


In conclusion, Imperfect Foods has revolutionized the way we think about grocery delivery services. By focusing on imperfect, blemished products that are often excluded from traditional grocers, Imperfect Foods has not only improved accessibility to healthy food options, but also helped to reduce food waste.

The company’s socially responsible approach has earned them millions in funding, which has allowed them to continue to expand and grow. Imperfect Foods is leading the way in creating a more sustainable food system, and is a great option for consumers looking to make more socially and environmentally conscious choices.

Competition Ranking Methodology

When evaluating the competition for Imperfect Foods, several key factors were considered. These factors include the company’s funding and financial backing, the availability of data on their impact and customer base, and the overall strength of their business model and mission.

Additionally, the ability of the company to scale and expand their offerings was also taken into account.


Honorable Mentions

While there are a number of competitors in the grocery delivery space, a few companies stood out as honorable mentions when evaluating the competition for Imperfect Foods. These include Amazon Fresh, Whole Foods, Instacart, and CropSwap.

Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods, both owned by Amazon, offer a similar model to traditional grocery stores. Customers can order groceries online and have them delivered or pick them up in-store.

While neither company focuses specifically on “imperfect” products, they offer a variety of grocery options and have a vast customer base. Instacart is a grocery delivery service that partners with multiple grocery stores, allowing customers to order from a variety of retailers and have their groceries delivered.

While Instacart has a broad reach, they do not offer the same focus on reducing food waste or supporting local farmers as Imperfect Foods. CropSwap is a Los Angeles-based startup that focuses on selling “ugly” produce to local customers.

While the company operates on a smaller scale than some of its competitors, it offers a unique service to its local customer base.

Top 12 Competitors of Imperfect Foods

1. Misfits Market – Misfits Market is widely considered the strongest competitor of Imperfect Foods, with a focus on selling “ugly” produce at a 40% discount.

The company has raised $526.5 million in funding and saved over 228 million pounds of food to date. 2.

Hungry Harvest – Hungry Harvest gained national recognition after appearing on the television show Shark Tank. The company offers a weekly delivery of “ugly” produce and has saved over 27 million pounds of produce, with 1.7 million pounds donated to local hunger relief organizations.

Hungry Harvest has raised $21 million in funding. 3.

GrubMarket – GrubMarket uses a direct-to-farm approach to procure their produce, which allows them to offer a variety of options at 50% off retail prices. The company has also expanded to offer WholesaleWare software to other food suppliers.

GrubMarket has raised $382 million in funding and has a valuation of $1.2 billion. 4.

Perfectly Imperfect Produce – Based in Ohio, Perfectly Imperfect Produce focuses on reducing food waste and has saved over 1 million pounds of food to date. The company also donates produce to local food banks and has a strong social mission.

Perfectly Imperfect Produce has not raised any outside funding. 5.

FreshDirect – FreshDirect offers a variety of grocery options, including produce, pantry staples, and prepared meals. The company has local facilities and refrigerated trucks, and offers membership options for frequent customers.

FreshDirect was acquired by Ahold Delhaize and has raised $280 million in funding. 6.

Farmbox Direct – Farmbox Direct offers a weekly delivery of fresh produce, with all-organic or conventional options available. The company utilizes FedEx delivery and also offers a FarmboxRX pharmacy delivery service.

Farmbox Direct has not raised any outside funding. 7.

Farm to People – Based in New York, Farm to People works directly with local farms to offer wholesale prices for farmers. The company also offers consumers a more affordable option for locally-sourced produce.

Farm to People has not disclosed their funding. 8.

Farm Fresh To You – Farm Fresh To You offers organic fruits and vegetables grown by the company itself. Based in California, the company has not raised any outside funding and has 240 employees.

9. Talley Farms Fresh Harvest – Talley Farms Fresh Harvest delivers produce directly from its own farm in San Luis Obispo and Northern Santa Barbara.

The company has not raised any outside funding and has around 50 employees. 10.

The Chef’s Garden – The Chef’s Garden is a large producer of organic vegetables, offering over 600 varieties of fruits and vegetables. The company has not raised any outside funding and has close to 100 employees.

11. The FruitGuys – The FruitGuys focus on delivering fruit to customers in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The company donates 20% of its profits to fight hunger and has donated over 18 million servings to date. The FruitGuys has over 100 employees.

12. Full Harvest – Full Harvest is a B2B online marketplace that purchases fresh produce in bulk at wholesale prices.

The company focuses on negotiating with suppliers to reduce food waste, and has raised $34.5 million in funding. Full Harvest has around 50 employees.

Each of these companies offers unique services and approaches to grocery delivery. While some may not focus specifically on reducing food waste, they are still contributing to creating a more sustainable food system for all.

It will be interesting to see how each of these competitors continues to evolve and make an impact in the grocery delivery industry.

Honorable Mentions

In addition to the previously mentioned competitors, there are several other noteworthy players in the grocery delivery space. These include established chains, local operators, and innovative startups that are making a mark in the industry.

Let’s take a closer look at some of these competitors and examples of their unique approaches. Established chains like Walmart and Kroger have also entered the online grocery delivery market.

Walmart offers grocery pickup and delivery services, allowing customers to order online and pick up their groceries at designated pickup points or have them delivered to their doorstep. Kroger, on the other hand, offers its own delivery service and has partnered with third-party platforms like Instacart to expand its reach.

Local operators are also gaining traction in the grocery delivery space. Examples include Farmdrop, a London-based company that works directly with local farmers to deliver local, organic produce to customers’ homes.

Farmdrop prides itself on transparency, providing detailed information about the farmers and producers behind each product on their platform. Online grocery delivery comes with its own set of challenges, such as managing product quality, ensuring timely delivery, and addressing customer concerns.

While some companies have struggled with these issues, others have managed to innovate and find success. For example, Ocado, a UK-based online grocery retailer, has developed sophisticated automated warehouses that use robotics to fulfill customer orders efficiently.


In the increasingly competitive grocery delivery market, Imperfect Foods remains at the forefront as a leading company. While competitors are raising significant funding and making strides in reducing food waste, Imperfect Foods has established itself as a trailblazer in the industry.

Misfits Market, with its focus on selling “ugly” produce at a discounted price, has gained considerable attention and is often regarded as the most-hyped company in this space. With $526.5 million in funding and 228 million pounds of food saved, Misfits Market poses itself as a significant competitor to Imperfect Foods.

As Imperfect Foods continues to grow, there are opportunities for expansion into the B2B vertical. This move would be similar to what Full Harvest has done, shifting its focus to serve the business-to-business segment.

Expanding into the B2B market would allow Imperfect Foods to work directly with restaurants, institutions, and other foodservice providers, further reducing food waste at every stage of the supply chain. While there is notable competition and a range of innovative approaches in the grocery delivery space, Imperfect Foods stands out for its commitment to reducing food waste and creating a more sustainable food system.

With its strong mission and customer-focused approach, Imperfect Foods will likely continue to inspire change in the industry and set new standards for socially and environmentally conscious grocery delivery. In conclusion, Imperfect Foods is leading the way in grocery delivery service by focusing on reducing food waste and offering “imperfect” products at a discounted price.

With competitors raising significant funding and the emergence of companies like Misfits Market, the industry is becoming increasingly competitive. However, Imperfect Foods has established itself as a trailblazer, saving over 145 million pounds of food and inspiring change in the food system.

As consumers, we have the power to make more socially and environmentally conscious choices and support companies like Imperfect Foods that prioritize sustainability. By choosing to shop with Imperfect Foods and similar companies, we can contribute to reducing food waste and creating a more sustainable future for all.

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