Imperfect Foods, the company that delivers surplus and “ugly” food directly to consumers, announced today that it had closed a $72 million Series C funding round. The round was led by Insight Partners with support from existing investors, including Norwest Venture Partners. This bumps the total amount raised by Imperfect up to $119.1 million.
You may have seen Imperfect Foods (formerly known as Imperfect Produce) boxes sitting on stoops around your neighborhood. Since 2015, the company has been delivering boxes of surplus and cosmetically imperfect produce — that is, fruits and vegetables that would normally go to waste — to consumers in curated boxes. The produce is discounted up to 30 percent compared to grocery store prices.
In an intriguing pivot, last year the company diversified into other grocery categories, like dairy, meat, and pantry items. Some of these were still “imperfect” products, like coffee beans that were too small or misshapen almonds, but others were not. Last year the company also launched a pilot program to pick up their delivery boxes for reuse.
With its new funds, Imperfect will continue to bring its grocery delivery to more areas across the country and add on to its fulfillment centers.
I received Imperfect boxes for a little over a year but discontinued them since, as a single person, I couldn’t use enough of my box to justify the cost. But ever since the pandemic has had me sheltering in place and dreading trips to the grocery store, I’ve missed my weekly boxes of produce and staples.
In fact, COVID-19 actually presents a valuable opportunity for Imperfect Foods. Surveys show that up to 60 percent of consumers are “fearful” of shopping inside grocery stores, while sales of online groceries are skyrocketing. Imperfect can provide the online grocery experience with a side of good conscience since you’re also cutting down on food waste.
Imperfect isn’t the only company to deliver ugly fruits and vegetables to consumers. Misfits Market also ships boxes of cosmetically flawed produce to consumers. Theirs is all organic, but the key difference is that you can’t choose what’s in your box, while Imperfect offers customization options.
In a time when consumers are relying on convenience and valuing their health perhaps more than ever, it’s a prime time for delivery services like Imperfect. Clearly investors feel the same way.