I’ve been relying on meal kit delivery services (such as Green Chef, Blue Apron, Daily Harvest) over the last year to help reduce my trips to the grocery store because of COVID. Before the pandemic, I still used them, but much less.
Regardless, they are convenient — not only because they’re delivered right to your doorstep but also because you don’t have to decide what to eat, the ingredients are pre-portioned, and sometimes the veggies are already chopped.
But no matter how you slice it (had to), meal kit delivery doesn’t provide staple items you might need throughout the week — things like bread, eggs, milk…chocolate bars.
That’s where Imperfect Foods comes in.
What is Imperfect Foods?
Imperfect Foods has a stock of food items that grocery stores or food brands have decided aren’t good enough to sell.
This could be produce that isn’t the “right” size or shape, canned or jarred food that has a mistake or old branding on the label, or simply an excess of inventory.
How Does Imperfect Foods Work?
If you’ve used other food delivery services (such as the ones mentioned above), it works very similarly to those.
You choose the size of box you want to get (which you can change at any time) and how often you want to get it — weekly, every other week, etc.
Then, you can fill your box every time, or you can set certain items to automatically go in your box. For example, if you know that every week you’ll need milk, apples, and canned beans, you can put that in every box without having to deal with it. As long as they have it in stock, you’ll get it.
Imperfect Foods has a specific shopping window for you depending on when you want your box delivered. My shopping window is on Monday afternoon – Wednesday afternoon for a box that arrives Friday morning.
I’ve been shopping at Imperfect Foods for two months now, and I’ve always selected items for my box. I haven’t tried the automatic feature, just because I always need or want different items, but I can see a day when I just set it and forget it.
What Kinds of Items can you buy with Imperfect Foods?
The online store is divided up by category and features produce, dairy, meat, fish, alternatives (for dairy and meat), pantry items, bakery, and they even have a few bath and body items.
The specific items vary from week to week depending on availability, but I’ve ordered items from just about every category.
For me, the key is to approach my shopping window with a list of items I’m hoping to find, but not expecting to find things that will make a bunch of meals.
As I mentioned before, I get staples: bread, nut milk, eggs, vegan butter, and olive oil. I always look for pantry items that would come in handy in a pinch, such as pasta, pasta sauce, beans, and rice. I once found all of the ingredients to make a vegan pizza!
As far as produce, I look for avocados, apples, tomatoes, limes and carrots. For the most part, I’ve always been able to get the items on my list.
As I’m looking throughout the site, I’ll see things I can use to make a meal. In the box I got Friday, I ordered wraps, black beans, quinoa, tomatoes, and packets of guacamole — all perfect for a lunchtime wrap. I also got oat milk, eggs, blueberries, and gluten-free pancake mix… which I used to make breakfast this morning!
One section I like to look in is beverages: they have tea, coffee, sparkling water, and kombucha!
How much money do you save with Imperfect Foods?
There’s a few ways you can tell how much money you save when you shop with Imperfect Foods.
The first way is while you’re shopping, you’ll see the price you’d normally pay for that item in the store and what you’re paying with IF. Most items are discounted, even if it’s just $0.10 or so.
The produce is heavily discounted, whereas the name brand items aren’t always cheaper.
The other way you can see your discount is once you place your order, they’ll calculate your total discount.
Over the last four orders I’ve placed with Imperfect Foods, I’ve saved between $12-$15 per order. I’ll show you one of my receipts!
If you want to start saving, I have a coupon code that will get you $20 off your first order.
How does Imperfect Foods help the environment?
Obviously, people buying stuff that would otherwise be tossed in the trash is a huge win. But, Imperfect Foods has a mission to eliminate food waste and create a better system to provide food to everyone.
They have goals to reduce carbon emissions and lower landfill waste, but increase use of renewable energy.
This makes me feel good about my purchase in so many ways. After I placed my first order, I got an email that said Your first order helped us take a bite out of food waste, recovering 13 lbs. of food, conserving 520 gallons of water, and preventing 44 lbs. of CO2.
So far, my experience with Imperfect Foods has been nothing but positive. During the winter freeze, they were communicating often about food status and delivery delays. If an item that I wanted wasn’t in stock, I get an email and a refund immediately. I also get texts when my box is out for delivery and once it’s delivered.
I’ll definitely keep using this service even after I start going back to the store because it makes me feel good that I’m reducing waste and helping a cause I care about.
Have you tried Imperfect Foods?
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