Disclaimer: I have not received any incentive of any kind to review my experience with Imperfect Foods, a grocery delivery service I have been using for coming up on a year as of the publication of this article. Click here to get $10 off your first Imperfect delivery.
What is Imperfect Foods?
Imperfect Foods is a company “on a mission to eliminate food waste and build a better food system for everyone” (according to their website). They offer dairy, vegetables, meat and meat alternatives, pantry items and delivery with great flexibility (you don’t get locked into some overwhelming plan to manage), and at what I think is competitive and even super affordable pricing compared to physical markets. What’s more, they’re creating a supply chain based on eliminating wasteful practices typically associated with traditional groceries and how we obtain them.
How does it work?
Simply put, you pick a plan (box size, frequency of delivery, box type such as all veggie or all fruit or all organic), then you put what you want in your “box” and then on your delivery day it shows up. More here.
Who can order from Imperfect Foods?
They’re currently (as of the publication of this article) available in 38 states. If you visit their website (on any device) you can quickly enter your location and find out if you’re on their map at the moment, and if I recall correctly, you can ask them to let you know when you do become within range if you are not at the moment.
How is the quality of product and service?
My experience has been very positive. There have been a few things, as with anything, that have happened like once I got something I didn’t order and was missing something I did. They told me to keep the extra item, applied the cost of the missing item to my next box. They were very quickly responsive, apologetic, and with the friendly service you expect from people who work with farmers, try to save food and water from being wasted, and that love their jobs. That goes a long way for me, personally.
What is the packaging like?
When you get your delivery, it comes with as minimal packaging as I’ve seen with food delivery. The produce is sort of free-floating (but thus far, nothing has been rotten or damaged in my experience) and anything that requires refrigeration is contained in an insulated bubble wrap bag with disposable (or reusable) ice packs. In our house, we use these to line our grocery bags for transport, but also to send people home from our house with food and other items that need padding or refrigeration or both. To me, they’re doing a good job with minimalist, but useful packaging that doesn’t make me feel any more uncomfortable than traditional grocery shopping.
Is it easy to cancel or change an order or plan?
YES! More flexible than any other delivery service I’ve personally used. Your order is flexible in several ways. Firstly, you choose a box size that has a price range that you’re comfortable with. Secondly, you select the frequency of your delivery. Not only that but every time your order is coming, you get a notification a few days prior letting you know it is time to customize (or cancel) your delivery. They put a default number of products they’ve got at the moment into your cart if you decide to just wing it, but more likely, you’ll take say, twenty minutes to see what is in your cart, remove what you don’t want, and then add what you do. To me that is the fun part because on top of the usual basic fruits, vegetables, pantry items, and so on, they have new things all the time. You can even click a tab to see only what is new.
As time goes on, you’ll get prompts based on Imperfect’s algorithms asking if you always or never want certain things in your box. So, if you always remove celery, for example, they’ll ask if you just never want it. Or if you always add blueberries, they’ll ask if they should always put it in that default box. And…you can still tweak that. But the point is, if you’re kind of a creature of habit, over time that box will have all your faves in it even if you don’t go tweak it.
What are the products like, and is it always the same grocery options?
As one would expect, there are seasonal items like produce that rotate in and out. However Imperfect grew up from just providing over-stock of seasonal produce and they now handle all kinds of reasons groceries get rejected or wasted such as packaging changes, QR code (price) changes, and other stocking problems with traditional grocery supply constraints. They rescue so much food that is perfectly amazing, I can hardly stand to look at neatly stacked mono-sized/shaped/colored tomatoes, apples, etc from the regular grocery store.
A fun example of what is awesome about the above: I get avocados from Imperfect that are small, but the pit inside is even proportionally smaller, so a smaller avocado has more fruit than what I get at the grocery store. I’ve learned more about grocery supply chain waste using Imperfect than I ever realized. You even get a report every single order about how much water and waste you’ve personally helped avoid.
Top that off with that the first order I placed was at a discount due to a code a friend shared with me which saved us each $10 on a box. And when I got my box I had the option to choose which food bank near me to which Imperfect would donate five pounds of food.
My overall experience with Imperfect Foods leaves me very comfortable recommending that my readers should try it out. Now that I’ve been using the service for a year I can vouch for the experience throughout all weather, seasonal variations of products, and consistency of quality and customer service. Have you tried Imperfect? Another grocery delivery service? Leave your thoughts in the comments!