Imperfect Foods has increased its recently announced series D round to $110 million, up from $95 million. The increased round now includes two additional investors, Hamilton Lane and Blisce, and brings Imperfect’s total funding to $229.1 million.
The company says it will increase the production capacity of its online grocery store and improve the shopping experience for customers.
Imperfect Foods’ evolution from food redistribution service to full-stack online grocer started in 2019 when the company began offering “rescued” foods beyond produce items: meats, pantry staples, and dairy, for example. The idea was to extend Imperfect’s original modus operandi — rescuing surplus food and selling it to consumers for a discount — to any type of food, whether an avocado or an unused cheese plate rescued from an airline.
Rescuing food is one tactic in the fight against food waste. Surplus and so-called “ugly” groceries, inventory at restaurants, and, yes, cheese plates and other food items from airplanes, would typically go to the landfill, contributing to the world’s multibillion-dollar food waste problem. Redirecting that cosmetically imperfect but perfectly edible food to consumers also informs the business models of Misfits Markets, Flashfood, Too Good to Go, and several others.
More investment dollars for Imperfect and these other companies suggests U.S. consumers are receiving the concept of ugly-food redistribution more in 2021 than they have in the past. Historically, the category has been more popular in Europe. However, with online grocery projected to be 21.5 percent of total grocery sales by 2025 and awareness of our food waste problem increasing, more folks are willing to pay less for their food items, even if they come with imperfections.
Imperfect said in a press release sent to The Spoon that the Series D round, including the add-on investments, will help the company build “the most sustainable online grocery service.” Currently, users in parts of the U.S. can sign up at the company’s e-commerce storefront to receive deals on grocery delivery. Imperfect currently serves the West South Central, Midwest, and Northeast regions and the West Coast.