A startup selling ugly fruits and vegetables just received a major investment from NBA all-star Kevin Durant

Imperfect Produce
  • Imperfect, a food startup selling ugly produce, just secured a major investment from NBA all-star Kevin Durant.
  • The startup was founded in 2015 with the mission of eliminating food waste in America.
  • While grocery stores tend to turn up their noses at fruit or veggies that are scarred, bruised, or misshapen, Imperfect delivers them directly to customers.
  • With its latest investment, the company plans to expand its operations throughout the East Coast.

When the food startup Imperfect stepped on to the delivery scene in 2015, it had one message for customers: Don’t judge an apple by its skin.

After discovering that one in five fruits and veggies were passed over by US grocery stores due to cosmetic defects, CEO Ben Simon decided to test whether consumers were more open to purchasing “ugly” produce like a misshapen carrot or bruised avocado.

The concept quickly took off, with Imperfect expanding into 11 cities across the country in just three years. On Wednesday, the company secured a massive financial boost from NBA all-star Kevin Durant, who has become quite the philanthropic investor.

Together, Imperfect and Durant plan to fight food waste in America, making produce more affordable and accessible. With a major investor at its helm, the company said it’s beginning to see itself as a national brand for the first time.

Imperfect now plans to expand into its 12th city, Washington, DC, by early 2019, before moving on to additional East Coast markets. From there, it will consider other grocery items like baked goods, pickles, and jams, which can be made using its fruits and veggies.

Take a look at some of its produce below.

Every year, American farms discard around 20 billion pounds of perfectly good fruits and vegetables.


Source: National Resource Defence Council

The produce has the the same quality, taste, and shelf life as any other — the only difference is that it’s considered “ugly.”


That scarring on your pear doesn’t mean there’s something wrong inside, said Simon. It could simply be the result of the fruit rubbing against a tree branch.


Most of the time, the defects aren’t even noticeable. “We often hear from customers that the produce isn’t as ugly as they thought it would be,” said Simon.


When it comes to fruit, imperfections could even be a sign of a higher nutritional value. A few studies have shown that fruits tend to produce more antioxidants when they fight off disease or insects.


Source: NPR

Imperfect’s ugly produce also costs around 30% less than it would at a grocery store — and gets delivered straight to your door.


Simon said the company has been most successful in San Francisco, where it first began, but it’s also beloved by customers in Chicago, Seattle, and Portland.


Since its founding, Imperfect has saved 30 million pounds of food, while customers have saved $US12 million on groceries.


In addition to this financial impact, Imperfect hopes to send a positive message. “A lot of our customers have drawn the connection between the produce and the same cult of perfection that, as a society, we apply to ourselves,” Simon said.


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