A Most Imperfect 2022 – The Whole Carrot

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This year was one for the books. You crushed it like a tomato, rescuing ugly produce, upcycling ingredients, and shopping for sustainable groceries. At Imperfect Foods, we’re all about small wins translating into big changes, and we can really see the impact when we count our collective wins as a community.

So cheers to every left over eaten, veggie scrap saved, and creatively crafted meal. It all adds up!

Holy Guacamole, Look at that Impact

Since Imperfect Foods was founded in 2015, we’ve made it our mission to prevent food—and all of the resources that go into producing it—from going to waste. In 2022, we made some serious progress, bringing our lifetime totals up to truly jaw-dropping numbers.

In our company’s lifetime, we’ve…

…saved more than 172.6 million pounds of food from lesser outcomes

That’s roughly the weight of three Statues of Liberty.

…saved more than 5.8 million gallons of water from going to waste

That’s more water than goes over Niagara Falls in two hours.

…avoided more than 85,610 tonnes of C02e emissions

That’s roughly the emissions of charging 10.4 billion cell phones.

…collected 6.5 million pounds of packaging for reuse and recycling

That’s the weight of almost 20 blue whales.

…donated 15.1 million pounds of food to our partners to help people facing hunger.

That’s equal to 12.5 million meals.

Learn more about the impact you make possible.

Our Most Delicious Year Yet

Drum roll please…we’d like to announce the winners of our tasty food contest of 2022! None of these foods knew they were competing, and let us tell you, they’ve barely bragged at all since finding out they won. Isn’t that refreshing?

Top Produce Item of 2022: Hass Avocados

Even when deemed too small, scarred, or in excess, the glamorous avocado is still beaming from atop the food celebrity scene. She’s toast-worthy, she’s guac-ready, she looks glorious fanned over a bowl of rice and is happy to cream-ify a morning smoothie. Have you ever seen a more in-demand fruit?

Top Non-Produce Item of 2022: Imperfect Foods Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast

Is it anticlimactic or simply realistic? Either way, the boneless skinless chicken breast is the humble canvas for every carnivore’s creation. They’re ready—in all of their oddly-shaped glory—to transform into whatever dinner demands. Plus these chickens are never treated with antibiotics and are always fed a 100% vegetarian diet.

Top Vegan Item of 2022: Minor Figure Organic Oat Milk

Oat milk is having a moment (a moo-ment?), and we’re here with the camera to capture every flattering angle. It works in coffee, in cereal, and in baked goods. Wherever cow’s milk goes, oat milk follows, proving that dairy-free can be divine.

Top Exclusively-at-Imperfect Snack: Fruit Strips & Bits

They’re tasty, they’re twisty, they’re the best case scenario of anyone who loves to play with their food. Best of all, they’ll always keep you guessing: was that the boysenberry I tasted? Or maybe passion fruit? We may never know! What we do know is that these strips were rescued during the process of trimming fruit leather into neat and tidy rectangles.

Top Imperfect Foods Employee Pick: Dark Chocolate Covered Pretzel Pieces

We’re unabashedly obsessed with this sweet and salty upcycled snack. We rescue the pretzels broken during the bagging process, saving them from a lifetime in a landfill and instead dipping them into decadent dark chocolate. Then we buy as many bags as we can before our customers have a chance. They’re perfect as they are, but have you tried them tossed into trail mix? Baked into cookies? Mixed into a milkshake? You know what, pretend you didn’t see this. We want them all to ourselves.

Our Soil Mates: Farmers and Partners

Our team at Imperfect Foods is nothing without our dedicated and talented farmers. Every day, they pour their knowledge into their land, growing crops and raising animals in a way that honors both the eaters of today and the farmers of the future. This year, we brought so many of their deliciously imperfect foods to your table. Here are a few of our fondest memories.

Perfecting Poblanos

Coke Farms started out growing strawberries. They got good berries, cultivating 90 acres of land in Santa Maria, California to grow these juicy red fruits. As the eldest of three sons got more involved in the family business, his father encouraged him to grow what he wanted. And the man wanted peppers!

The family spent three years learning about peppers, and after pouring so much time and energy into the land, their efforts paid off—in excess. Coke Farms came to us with a surplus of poblanos asking if our community would want to scoop them up. Our response? “Pep-per usual, yes!”

A few weeks later, the Imperfect community had brought over 11,100 pounds of peppers home.

Giant Grapefruits Galore

You’ve heard the story of James and the Giant Peach, but what about Jenny and the Giant Grapefruit? Lettuce enlighten you. (Spoiler alert: it wasn’t quite big enough to live in.)

When Sunkist Growers produced grapefruits so large they were rejected by traditional grocery stores and juicers alike, they found themselves with too much of a good thing. They packed local food banks with citrus, but still had fruit to spare. Enter Imperfect Foods and our community of citrus-loving customers.

Together, we rescued 70,000 pounds of giant grapefruits and sent them to kitchens in good homes. They live out their lives as palomas, citrus salads, freshly squeezed juices, or even candied peels. And based on the sheer number of customers, we have to assume that at least one was named Jenny, therefore making this the story of Jenny and the Giant Grapefruit. You’re welcome.

Heavy is the Crown of the Artichoke

Artichokes are a truly fascinating plant. The fruit we eat is technically a thistle flower bud which, if left alone, unfurls into a massive purple or pink blossom. By that point, the leaves aren’t much to write home about. But pick the bud before it blooms and you have a rich, delicious vegetable worthy of a feast.

The farmers of Lakeside Organics are well-versed in exactly when to pick peak ‘chokes. The first top one the plant produces—known as the king artichoke—is usually the biggest. While this is a gift for the dinner table, it can also make harvesting quite labor-intensive. Farmer Aurelio and his crew pluck the top ‘chokes from each plant and toss them into their artichoke-optimized backpacks. Keep tossing ’til it’s full and the pack can weigh up to 80 pounds!

This year, Lakeside Organics had an abundance of organic king artichokes. Our community rescued them and transformed them into dips, pasta dishes, and the stuff of summer dinner dreams.

Doing a Victory Lap (in an Electric Imperfect Van)

This year was a big one for Imperfect’s sustainability initiatives. We’re constantly working to reduce waste and make our operations even more efficient, and in 2022 we got closer to several of our big goals for the company.

this year, we…

  • Piloted an electric vehicle program in Northern California
  • Kicked off a zero waste program in our Portland fulfillment center and diverted 90% of waste from the landfill (more fulfillment centers to follow!)
  • Reduced the amount of material sent to landfills company-wide by 33%
  • Celebrated another year of our successful packaging return program, diverting 3.7 million pounds of packaging from the landfill in 2022 alone

Next year, we’ll expand these initiatives and continue evaluating operations for new ways to minimize our carbon footprint. Our goal is to be a net zero carbon operations by 2030!

Because you know what we always say: Small wins add up to big changes.

Grow the Movement

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