There are literally dozens of services that will deliver groceries to your doorstep, and this Imperfect Foods review will help you decide if misshapen mangos and overstocked organic goodies are right for you.
Imperfect Foods (formerly known as Imperfect Produce) will mail you a box full of food that the grocery stores rejected. Now, that will make some people uneasy right off the bat. Why did the grocery stores reject this food? What’s wrong with it? Is it spoiled or molding?
I’m going to give you an in-depth Imperfect Foods review below, but first be sure and grab this free meal planning printable so you can cook up something delicious with your box of groceries!
You’ll first be asked to enter your zip code to make sure that Imperfect Foods delivers to your area.
Then you’ll be asked a few questions about your household’s eating habits so Imperfect Foods can give you customized recommendations.
Realize that Imperfect Foods is a subscription based service (you can cancel or skip at any time!) and naturally they want you to order as much food as possible – so don’t get sticker shock when your first recommendation pops up. You will have the opportunity to customize every Imperfect Foods box you receive, and what this “grocery plan” says has no impact on how much or how little you order.
The grocery plan is only there to serve as a baseline for what Imperfect Foods will suggest you order in your box based on your food preferences and the number of mouths you have to feed. I almost always order less than what my grocery plan recommends (because believe it or not I’m a very picky eater, and any leeks or cabbages they suggest I add to my box will quickly get taken out!)
Once you finish setting up your account, you’ll be given a date and time that you can come back to customize your first box. In my area, Imperfect Foods deliveries happen on Tuesdays and my customization window is from Thursday at 3:00 PM to Sunday at 12:00 PM. You can jot this time down in your planner to make sure you don’t forget, but Imperfect Foods will also send you a reminder email when you can log back in to make your selections.
Once it’s time to make your customizations you’ll be taken to a pre-filled cart based on the grocery plan you made earlier. Remember, anything can be added and anything can be taken away! So only order what you and your family will actually use.
You can sort by category of food or just scroll through all the options.
The cart will automatically save your selections, so you can close out of the tab once you’ve picked what you want. (I find that slightly confusing – I really want to click a “save” button but there isn’t one!)
On the day of your Imperfect Foods delivery, you’ll get a text when your box is about to arrive (normally the text says that your box is “arriving soon.” I’ve never actually been home when a box is delivered to time exactly how long that is.)
When my last box arrived, I set up my camera to do a quick unboxing and show you what came in my box. You can click below to watch and check out the quality of the food for yourself!
Imperfect Foods Review: The Imperfections
I’ve got good news and bad news when it comes to Imperfect Foods, so let’s start with the bad news first.
1. There’s a temptation to get things you don’t need. It’s exciting to get a box of food delivered to your door, and it’s easy to scroll through all of the options offered and toss in anything that looks tasty, whether or not you need it. You’ll want to be sure that you’re meal planning before you hop online to select your groceries – have your shopping list in hand to ensure you don’t over purchase.
2. They don’t have near everything you’ll need. Imperfect Foods started as Imperfect Produce – and most of what they offer is produce. They’re regularly expanding a bit to offer some meats, dairy products, and snacks, but don’t expect Imperfect Foods to totally replace your weekly grocery shopping. They also aren’t guaranteed to have the same things from week to week. Just because they have butternut squash one week doesn’t mean it’ll be available again next week.
3. Delivery Issues I’ve had quite a few delivery issues with Imperfect Foods this year. A few months back I ordered a box and got a text that let me know that my delivery was delayed and it wouldn’t be arriving until the next day. My box did arrive on the front porch the next day…mutilated.
There was a gaping hole in the box! What I think happened is that the ice packs melted overnight and on the porch for the few hours it sat while I was at work, and the condensation ruined the cardboard box it came in. I reached out to customer service and after a quick back and forth they agreed to refund my entire box.
The next box I ordered arrived on time and in perfect condition. But that’s not all…when I ordered a third box, I got the text that said my delivery was on the way, followed by a text letting me know that my box had been delivered. I had been home the whole time, and no box had been delivered. I waited about an hour, I check the porch, and I never found any box. I reached out to customer service and they informed me that “the driver failed to follow the delivery instructions” (which would’ve just been my house address.) They refunded the price of the box to me.
My fourth box arrived in good condition and on time – but that’s only a 50/50 rate of a good box, which isn’t very high. The delivery process is by far my biggest complaint about Imperfect Foods.
Imperfect Foods Review: The Pros
1, You’re eliminating food waste. Some of the food you’ll receive in your Imperfect Foods box is food that never would’ve made it to the grocery store. Here are the four main reasons I’ve seen for a food ending up in the Imperfect Foods selection:
Overstock – I’ve seen this on the majority of foods I’ve selected. The food is in perfect condition, there’s just too much of it for the stores to take.
Misshapen or Scarred – If you’ve ever tried to grow vegetables, you know that they don’t grow straight. American grocery stores want all food to look the same, but a carrot that’s got a kink in the middle will still taste just as good!
Too Big/Too Small – Foods will also get rejected if they’re the wrong size. I’ve gotten lemons that were considered “too small” to sell at the grocery store – but they were just right for a lemon raspberry cheesecake!
Increased Selection – Imperfect Foods has recently added a collection of items that aren’t flawed or imperfect, they’re merely frequently requested items that Imperfect Foods has the ability to supply.
2. You can look up recipes easily while shopping. I’m a baker at heart. I love making meals and treats to share with other people, and sometimes I’ll get a hankering in the grocery store to whip up something special. But pulling out my phone and surfing Pinterest isn’t always ideal. If I’m scrolling through the options from Imperfect Foods and get inspired to make something with peaches, I can pull up a new tab and look up a recipe right there.
3. You can get smaller quantities. One thing that will never cease to mildly irk me is that mandarin oranges always come in three pound bags. I enjoy a mandarin from time to time….but I don’t enjoy THREE POUNDS of them in one week! Imperfect Foods gives quantities in small increments so you can get just one pound of apples if you only have one kid who will eat them.
4. It’s a fun and easy way to get your family eating more veggies. It’s easy to get into a rut of always eating the same comfort foods. They’re familiar, easy, and you know your family will eat them. If you’re getting a box of produce delivered, you’ll be more inspired to plan on recipes that involve the great fruits and veggies you have access to!
Imperfect Foods Review: Cost Analysis
Below I’ve outlined everything I ordered in my most recent box, the cost that I was charged by Imperfect Foods, and the price that I found online for the same item. Sometimes I couldn't find the exact same brand, so I picked a close item (i.e. a different brand of organic roast beef deli meat.)
Imperfect Foods $
Grocery Store $
Diestel Family Ranch Non-GMO Roast Beef Deli Meat
Save $2.70 with Imperfect Foods!
Stumptown Original Cold Brew Coffee
Save $0.60 with Imperfect Foods!
Amy’s Organic No Chicken Noodle Soup
Costs an extra $1.12 with Imperfect Foods
Amy’s Organic Hearty Italian Vegetable Soup
Costs an extra $2.20 with Imperfect Foods
King Arthur Unbleached All Purpose Flour
Costs an extra $1.40 with Imperfect Foods
Unreal Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
Save $1.00 with Imperfect Foods!
Angie’s BoomChickaPop Sea Salt Popcorn
Costs an extra $0.71 with Imperfect Foods
Tiberino One-Pot Meal – Spaghetti with Porcini and Tomato Sauce
As you can see, the price is almost identical using Imperfect Foods versus your regular grocery retailer. Also note that Imperfect Foods is already listing these items as “on sale” so you may be able to score even more savings at your local grocery store, along with being able to price check multiple brands if you’re willing to go with a generic brand.
I’d advise a gentle caution of getting too excited about the “savings” offered by imperfect foods – the tortillas were a great deal! But I would’ve been better off getting King Arthur's Flour from the grocery store.
Is it safe to eat “Imperfect” Foods? Yes! Imperfect Foods is not selling you expired or spoiled foods. These foods are only considered imperfect because of cosmetic damages or simply because the grocery stores didn’t have room for them.
Does Imperfect Foods lock you into a subscription? Imperfect Foods is a subscription that you can cancel at any time. You can also skip boxes if you don’t want to totally cancel your subscription.
Can I pick the foods that come in my Imperfect Foods box? Yes! Every Imperfect Foods box is completely customizable.
What if I don’t customize my Imperfect Foods box? If you forget to customize your Imperfect Foods box they will send you a box based off of the “grocery plan” you created during sign up. You’ll want to be wary of this! Often they’ll send you items you don’t want that may cost more than you were planning on paying. Be sure to put a reminder in your phone so you don’t forget to customize your box each week.
Loved this Imperfect Foods Review? Check out these other posts!
Every Plate Review – if getting ready-to-cook meals delivered to your door sounds like something you'd be down for, don't miss our Every Plate review!
Eat at Home Meal Plans Review – this service is a little different. You won't be getting any food mailed to your door, but you will get a thorough meal plan made for you every week! This would be a great tool to pair with an Imperfect Foods subscription so you can easily add what you need to your Imperfect Foods order.
Small Kitchen Organization – all this food (plus kitchen tools!) can be hard to organize, especially if you're working with a small space. Check out this post on small kitchen organization, and be sure to watch the video if you want to come along in the kitchen to really see how these tips work.
Is an overflowing to-do list an all too familiar companion? Is the phrase “so much to do, so little time” the mantra of your current season of life? I’ve been there, friend. When there’s task upon task demanding your time it become vital to learn how to prioritize. You CAN turn that mountain into a molehill, and I’ll show you can easy way to do that with my Sticky Note Productivity method!