Imperfect Foods, a national online grocer that specializes in selling surplus and cosmetically “imperfect” foods, announced today that it has raised a $95 million Series D round of funding. The round was led by Insight Partners and brings Imperfect’s total amount of funding to $214.1 million.
Imperfect Foods (formerly Imperfect Produce) aims to reduce waste in our current food system by “rescuing” so-called ugly foods — think misshapen carrots or potatoes — and selling them directly to consumers at a discounted prices. Without these rescues, such food would go straight to the landfill, further contributing to the world’s multibillion food waste problem.
In 2020, Imperfect transitioned from a regional produce delivery service into a national full-service grocer, expanding its catalog to include pantry items, meat, seafood, dairy and other products. Items sold are surplus, cosmetically imperfect, or sourced from sustainable partners. Some examples from last year include buying up allotments of cheese plates going unused by airlines and popcorn kernels from empty movie theaters. Imperfect also released a holiday snack box at the end of 2020 that featured cosmetically imperfect but otherwise perfectly edible snack items.
Imperfect said in today’s press announcement that it has a growing customers subscriber base of more than 350,000 customers. But it’s not alone in the “ugly” food space. Misfits Market, which does much the same thing, has raised more than $100 million in funding.
That money is flowing into Imperfect and Misfits is not too much of a surprise. The global pandemic pushed record numbers of people into online shopping. Even though vaccines are now out, and we may be seeing the pandemic recede, grocery e-commerce is projected to remain sticky with consumers and grow to gobble up 21.5 percent of overall grocery spending by 2025. So having an established grocery delivery infrastructure right now is far from an imperfect business idea.