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This Type of Produce Is Exploding in Popularity

Sales of these particular foods went up a ton during the pandemic.

It's normal to want the best looking fruit or vegetable at the grocery store. Items that are free of blemishes and sized perfectly are usually what the eye lands on. Yet, that doesn't necessarily mean that item is the best and tastiest. One company is profiting off the produce that isn't as pretty or perfect. Although they were founded only five years ago, Imperfect Foods already sells hundreds of thousands of boxes of produce every week.

Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic and a rise in online grocery shopping, sales have doubled this year. The company describes its "ugly" produce as "imperfect (yet delicious) produce, affordable pantry items, and quality eggs and dairy" delivered right to your door. Before March, around 100,000 boxes were delivered a week. By May, when stay-at-home orders were in full swing, it grew to over 200,000 a week. In August, even as people ventured out again, the company still saw numbers climbing as high as 210,000, according to CNN. (Related: This Is the Only One Way to Contract COVID-19 at the Grocery Store.)

"The combination of affordability, convenience and the sustainability of our products was a very powerful driver for customers during the early phases of pandemic," the CEO, Philip Behn, told the news site.

As more and more orders came in, Imperfect Foods had to operate 24 hours a day to get boxes out. In addition to doubling the number of boxes sold, they also nearly doubled the number of employees. They began looking for produce and grocery items in abnormal places forced to close for safety. Movie theater popcorn, airplane food, prepackaged items usually found in cafeterias, and more were perfect.

Since their start, the company says 139 million pounds of ugly food has been saved from being thrown away. They sell it at around 30% less than regular grocery store prices and deliver to 38 states. The only ones excluded are Alaska, Hawaii, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida.

While ordering Imperfect Foods could be a great money saver, here are 6 Things to Avoid When Grocery Shopping Online.

Amanda McDonald
Amanda has a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University and a bachelor's degree in digital journalism from Loyola University Chicago. Read more about Amanda
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