A key tactic for fighting food waste at the consumer level is to incentivize folks with easy, affordable solutions that don’t require a whole lot of work. Bundling food-waste-fighting concepts into holiday gift ideas seems like one surefire way to do that, and it’s something food redistribution platform Imperfect Foods will be doing in 2020. The company today announced the launch of its first-ever holiday gift box containing a mix of so-called “imperfect” snack items, according to a press release sent to The Spoon.
Imperfect, which raised $72 million earlier this year, “rescues” surplus and cosmetically imperfect food items from grocery stores and delivers them to consumers at discounted prices. That includes fruits, vegetables, and pantry items as well as meat and dairy.
It follows, then, that all snack items included in the newly announced holiday gift box come with their own rescue stories. Those include:
- Dried mango considered too “sunburnt” to sell at grocery
- Almond butter toffee that broke into pieces
- Peppermint- and dark chocolate-covered pretzels that broke into pieces during production
- Surplus seasonings
- Leftover snack mix bits like peanuts, pretzels, and sesame sticks
- Almonds with “blemishes”
While the above list would satisfy most snack lovers’ cravings, it more importantly offers a quick snapshot of the many ridiculous reasons retailers throw food out — food that could otherwise be purchased for lower prices or given to those without access or means to regular grocery store items. In high-income countries like the U.S. and many places in Europe, the majority — more than 80 percent — of food waste happens at consumer-facing levels like retail. Needless to say, there are a lot of blemished almonds out there that need a home, and a lot of people in the country who could benefit from keeping them out of the landfill.
Nor is Imperfect the only food rescue service out there. Two other notables include Misfits Market, which operates similar to Imperfect and recently raised $85 million, and Flashfood, a Canada-based service that currently works with Meijer grocery chains to rescue food.
Packaging rescued snack items as holiday goodies may also be a way for a company like Imperfect to make the concept of fighting food waste more appealing and, well, fun. No other food waste apps besides Imperfect have yet to surface with a holiday offering, though it wouldn’t be surprising if they did over the next few weeks.
The Imperfect Foods Holiday Box will be available for both Imperfect subscribers and nonmembers for $24.99 starting November 16. The company said in today’s press release will save about nine pounds of food from going to waste. Proceeds from the boxes go towards Feeding America.