By Christiane Cordero

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A San Francisco-based service called Imperfect Produce recently expanded into Minnesota with one message: Buy ugly fruit.

The company connects its customers to produce unfit for a grocery store simply because of how it looks. It buys the produce from a nationwide network of farmers, claiming it saves some of the roughly 20% of produce often thrown out.

The fruits and vegetables get collected and brought to the company’s six pack centers, then distributed to the 25 cities it serves.

Online, Imperfect Produce looks similar to other grocery delivery services. Customers can customize exactly what they want, and choose the right box size.

The boxes start at $12 for 7 to 9 pounds of conventional produce. It goes up to $43 for 23 to 25 pounds of organic. Each box comes with an additional $5 delivery fee. The subscription is typically set to a weekly order, but can be adjusted on preference, given inventory changes every week.

“If it happens that there are a bunch of peaches that might have a little scarring on the outside because of different hail or weather conditions stuff like that, we’ll jump into action,” said CEO Ben Simon when asked how they decide what items to gather and list online. “And if it happens on the flip side that peaches are in short supply and there’s not that many peaches that are out there, they’d be really expensive, we might skip peaches that week and do nectarines instead.”

Simon aims to put 50 to 60 items on its website every week. The company recently expanded into Imperfect Foods, selling grocery items that are also surplus or insufficient for grocers and plans to continue growing in both departments.

Christiane Cordero