Imperfect Produce Review & Coupon: My First Box
Earlier this month I got an exciting email in my inbox: Imperfect Produce is finally going to be available in my area! I’ve been wanting to subscribe to one of those after watching a documentary about food waste, so I immediately signed up and didn’t even look for any discount codes. I absolutely hate the idea of throwing away food, especially if it’s still good and not expired at all, so a service like this helps me shop more ethically and also save money along the way.
This map shows the areas where Imperfect Produce currently delivers.
HOW IT WORKS:
In a nutshell, the service delivers a variety of fresh produce, proteins, and pantry items that are deemed “imperfect” by the food industry. An apple that is smaller than the standard size, a carrot with an extra stem, a scarred avocado, a potato that has a few bruises here and there. Imperfect Produce also offers overstock items that would otherwise end up in a landfill, as well as a variety of pantry staples with no defects at a reduced price just because. Price-wise, think Aldi, but cheaper.
Depending on the zip code, you might be able to pick a delivery date. Right now the boxes in my area are only available for Friday delivery, which is fine since I do most of my meal prepping on the weekends anyway.
The produce is priced very competitively. I live in a LCOL area and these prices are still lower compared to our grocery stores.
Here’s an example of some non-produce items that you can choose from.
There are several box options to choose from, but really the only reason to pick one is if you want the contents to be a surprise.
Imperfect Produce allows you to customize the box between 1pm Monday and 12pm Wednesday, you can pick every single item and desired quantities. The final cost of the box will be adjusted accordingly in your cart, but there is a $30 minimum that you need to meet first. There is also a flat delivery fee of $5.99 regardless of the size of the order, which I think it’s more than fair considering my last shipment weighed 40 lbs!! and had to be shipped in two separate large boxes.
Going on vacation or simply want to receive the boxes less frequently? There is an option to skip a week.
The general categories of products you can pick from:
- Fresh vegetables organic & conventional
- Fresh fruit organic & conventional
- Fresh herbs organic & conventional
- Proteins vegan & animal-based
- Dry pasta, granola, grains & legumes
- Snacks sweet & savory
- Bottled drinks like kombucha, small-batch Japanese yuzu soda, LaCroix etc
- Nuts & seeds
- Cheese vegan & traditional dairy
- Plant-based milks & yogurt
- Artisan coffee
- Artisan bread traditional & gluten-free
- Spices & condiments
… and more! It’s a pretty extensive list, and I never have a problem reaching my $30 threshold. The list will tell you exactly how much of each product you will be getting for the price: 2x apples, 1x melon, 3x persimmons etc.
This apple was deemed imperfect because of its size. Still perfectly delicious though!
My first experience with Imperfect Produce was awful! I took over an hour to customize my box and plan the weekly menu around the groceries I was going to receive. I spent time researching recipes where I could incorporate as many of those ingredients as possible so that at the end of the week I will finish every single thing I bought without wasting anything. Otherwise, what’s the point of saving these products from the landfill if that’s where they will end up anyway, by my own hand?
The first delivery date rolled in and I receive this email.
Sure, a $20 credit is nice, but what good is it to me when I feel like I wasted my time picking the items and preparing the recipes, so now I have to do it all over again and plan around the current sale in our local grocery stores. Next Friday comes along, and I receive another email saying that my box will be delayed again. At that point, I figured enough is enough, so I emailed the customer service with my feedback and canceled the subscription. Lo and behold, the box did come on Saturday afternoon, and coincidentally, it was shipped after I had sent in my email.
I watched a few Imperfect Produce unboxings on YouTube, so I already knew that everything will be thrown in the box without any padding or cushioning. It’s still not ideal if you ask me, but I suppose you get what you pay for considering that it’s a budget-savvy service. Still, that’s something to keep in mind if you plan to subscribe – your box will have ice packs, and maybe some paper, but not much else in terms of padding. Items will be in the box like you toss them in your grocery cart, sans the plastic bags.
After reading the previous part, I bet you’re left to wonder how can I have anything good to say at all. I don’t blame you, I was super disappointed with my first Imperfect Produce experience, but in the end I still kind of like the service. Oftentimes making environmentally friendly choices requires a certain level of privilege, but Imperfect makes it convenient and financially accessible to a broader demographic.
I was impressed with the sheer number of choices, it felt like they had nearly everything a regular store would have, but massively discounted. Both weeks there were several products I’d never tried before, like watermelon radishes [they’re white on the outside and pink on the inside]. The service allows you to be adventurous without putting a huge dent in the budget, as long as you don’t mind a few surface scratches or a bent carrot now and then.
I think I will continue receiving Imperfect Produce boxes for the time being, and maybe even unbox them for you guys on IG stories so you can see the condition everything arrives in. But honestly, considering how everything was just shoved in the box, there wasn’t a whole lot of damage done. The eggplant was a bit more bruised than I would like, and the melon was probably just overripe. Other than that, I don’t have any major complaints about the taste of my weekly picks. Sure, they had some surface-level imperfections on the skin, but we almost always peel that off anyway.