Before we get into the Imperfect Foods review (which is not sponsored!), here’s my referral code if you’re interested! You’ll get $10 off your first box — and, full disclosure, so do I. You can then pass along your own personal referral code to your friends if you love it, too!
I’ll start off by saying that I do typically prefer to support my local market, Eastern Market. I buy almost all of my meat from there and I like to pick up bread from local shops. The cost is often equivalent to what I’ll find at Trader Joe’s and the quality is so, so, so much better. However, for the items that I was previously buying at TJ’s during normal times, I’m now looking to online delivery.
Amazon Fresh has been a lifesaver for a lot of items — and the prices are less than a typical big box grocery store. But, I had heard from more than a few people that companies that specialize in selling, well, imperfect foods, are worth checking out. A colleague used Imperfect Foods, so here we are.
Note: I talk more about my grocery shopping, particularly during social distancing, in this post!
Imperfect Foods Review
I signed up for Imperfect Foods way back at the end of March, but, at the time, there was a wait list and I didn’t receive my first box until the beginning of May. Of course, it’s no surprise grocery delivery services are in high demand.
So, here’s the deal: Imperfect Foods stocks foods that would otherwise be thrown out. This could be for various reasons. Perhaps they have cosmetic flaws — dings, dents, bruises, or otherwise. Maybe they’re off-spec, which means there wasn’t a local grocer that was accepting items packaged in a particular way. There could be surplus inventory (fun fact: they’re selling airline cheese plates right now). Or, maybe there’s been a packaging change and stores can no longer sell perfectly good food with the old label design.
Bottom line, these are foods that are 100% okay to eat, but have no future on shelves or anywhere else besides a dump. On an ethical note: they do not accept food that otherwise would have gone to a food bank!
When you choose your subscription, you select a basic produce box with add-ons including meat, dairy, and snack packs. This means, at the most basic level, you will have items in your selected categories chosen for you. However, you can customize every item within the box. Don’t like kale? Take it out. Want squash? Add it in.
Each Thursday, at 3 PM, you’ll gain access to shop. At this point, you’ll look at what’s in your box and, until Saturday afternoon, you can customize it to your liking. Because I generally have a good idea of what I want to cook, I do a fair amount of customizing, but their suggestions have made me check out items I might not otherwise have included. For example, I never buy eggplant, but I have one sitting in my fridge, ready for me to put to use.
My deliveries arrive on Monday and I appreciate that they come with enough packaging to keep items cold, but are otherwise sent with minimal frills. I don’t need a Blue Apron-style refrigerator of a box.
I’m on my third delivery of Imperfect Foods and I have no plans of stopping it anytime soon. I love the challenge (and health benefits!) of incorporating more produce into my diet and I like that I can get more varied produce options than I might if I was at the market or seeing what’s actually in stock via Amazon Fresh.
Items We’ve Ordered Again and Again
Okay, by again and again, I mean we’re 3 boxes in. But, that’s definitely enough to have a good feel for the items we like, right?!
What is on our must-order list each week? Here are a few items. And, remember I’m comparing these to DC prices, so don’t @ me saying I can find them for less somewhere else…unless it’s walkable to my home on Capitol Hill. If that’s the case, please tell me!
- Eggs: at $2.99 a carton, this is about as good a price as I can find in DC at the moment
- Chocolate Shortbread Cookies: a random add that I’ve binge eaten each week
- Smoked Salmon Pieces: okay, you won’t be able to peel this off in big flakes, but at $9.99 a pound, it’s a pretty darn good deal
- Potatoes: now that we have an air fryer, we go through a lot of potatoes, so I’m rebuying these each week
- Carrots: I believe these are something like $0.69 a pound, which, again, is better than most grocery stores
- Cashews: we love having nuts on hand and the price on a bag of cashews is TJ’s-equivalent
- Bonne Maman Preserves: $2.99 a jar is unbeatable in-store
Ready to try it out for yourself after reading my Imperfect Foods Review? Here’s my $10 off code!