People are particular about the appearance of their food, especially when it comes to produce. You can find “good looking” foods in supermarkets, and there are no bent carrots, strangely shaped tomatoes, and brown bananas.
Usually, food that is considered too ugly is thrown away, but as people become more environmentally conscious, secondary markets have emerged dedicated to selling such ugly produce.
What secondary market is there for ugly produce? Are there any additional discounts? Follow me to read now!
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What is ugly produce?
Ugly produce, also known as “imperfect” or “appearance questionable” produce, refers to fruits and vegetables with physical defects, such as blemishes, discoloration, irregular shape or size, or other superficial markings. These defects are usually caused by weather conditions, pests, or natural growth processes and do not affect the quality or taste of the product.
However, many of these imperfect products are often rejected and go to waste due to the strict cosmetic standards set by grocery stores. Shockingly, according to the National Development and Reform Commission, 40% of the food produced in the United States is wasted at various points in the supply chain.
Farms, distributors, stores, and consumers are all guilty of throwing away perfect food, so programs and initiatives have emerged to sell this ugly produce at discounted prices to help reduce food waste and make it affordable for more people of agricultural products.
That’s exactly what companies like Misfits Market and Imperfect Foods are doing. They are secondary markets. They buy from farms when there is a surplus of products or when the product does not meet the appearance requirements.
What reliable secondary market is there?
I will often buy the products I need at hungry harvest, imperfect foods, and Misfits Market. From my 2 years of experience, my area is more inclined to use imperfect foods to order. I’ll also provide ways I save money:
First sign-up discount
- Misfits Market-Save 25% off your first order (up to $15 off).
Old User discount
- Hungry Harvest – use Topcashback for an extra $5.25 bonus
- Misfits Market – Use Rakuten for an extra $10/ Swagbucks for an extra $7.5
Below is a simple comparison of three different companies, but first you need to enter your region to see if regional delivery is supported.
$5.99 – $9.99
starts from $6.99
Produce, meat & seafood, plant-based items, eggs & dairy products, grains & pantry staples, snacks, household items
Produce, weekly add-ons (snacks, pantry staples, etc.)
Produce, pantry staples
Check ZIP Code
What are the benefits of buying ugly produce?
Buying ugly or “imperfect” produce can have several benefits, including:
- Reduce food waste: It is estimated that one-third of all food produced globally is wasted, much of it due to cosmetic flaws that result in perfectly good products being thrown away. By purchasing Imperfect produce, you are helping reduce food waste and supporting more sustainable farming practices.
- Save money: Ugly products often sell for less than perfect-looking ones, making them a more affordable option for consumers. But ugly products are no less nutritious than good-looking ones. Buy produce from ugly produce companies like Misfits Market or Imperfect Foods and you’ll spend 30% to 50% less on produce than at the supermarket.
- Support local farmers: Many small farmers cannot sell their imperfect produce to large grocery chains, which often have strict appearance standards. By buying directly from local farmers or through programs that provide imperfect produce, you are supporting these farmers and helping them stay in business.
- Promoting Biodiversity: Buying a wider variety of produce, including those with defects, can help promote biodiversity and preserve heirloom varieties that may not be common or available in stores.
- Encourage healthier eating habits: By buying a wider variety of produce, including the ugly ones, you may be encouraged to try new recipes and incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet, which has many health benefits.
What are the disadvantages of buying ugly produce?
There’s little downside to buying ugly produce. Some of the potential negative effects that may arise include:
- Limited Availability: Depending on where you live, it can be difficult to find stores or items that sell imperfect products. For example, I want to eat tomatoes or cucumbers this week, but this agricultural product is not sold in the market this week, so I need to change the recipe for this week.
- Shorter shelf life: Due to cosmetic imperfections, an ugly product may have a shorter shelf life and may need to be used up sooner than a more perfect-looking product.
- Inconsistent quality: While ugly produce is still tasty, it may vary in texture or flavor due to its cosmetic flaws. If it is smashed during transportation, you can ask customer service for a refund.
Overall, the benefits of buying ugly produce, such as reducing food waste, supporting local farmers, and saving money, far outweigh any potential downsides. I’m still very much in favor of buying ugly produce as the primary way to source food.
Do we really only need to buy fresh produce?
Well, at least I don’t think so. Eating raw food is largely conspicuous consumption. No one likes to buy a bunch of ugly produce.
But in fact, ugly produce can also give us the nutritional intake we need in life. It’s like exercising is a good thing, but is it necessary to wear fancy sportswear to exercise? Can ordinary sportswear fail to achieve the purpose of sports?
In addition, it is said that the nutritional value of fresh agricultural products will be higher. This is for sure. But can you ensure that the nutritional value is still high after a series of transportation, storage, and cooking? I think it should not be.
So it’s okay to choose ugly produce too. It’s worth noting that ugly produce is not the same as expired and rotten produce. We should avoid eating stale produce that has expired.
Other Online Grocery Stores
I know that ugly produce doesn’t look very pretty, and that extra “good” vegetables and fruits need to be added to everyday recipes. Although their nutritional content is not much different.
You can buy a variety of fresh foods at discounted prices in online grocery stores. These online retailers may also offer other incentives, such as free shipping or discounts on bulk purchases. Some examples of such retailers include Amazon Wholes, Walmart, and Instacart, among others.
Different retailers may have different prices for the same type of food, and you can buy more food according to your shopping preferences. But please don’t forget to check if Topcashback, Rakuten, and Ibotta have extra cashback rewards before buying.
The overall advantages of buying ugly farm produce far outweigh the disadvantages. And the method of online delivery makes the purchase method easier. Before buying agricultural products, please check whether your area supports delivery and delivery methods. Sometimes the frequency of delivery once a week is not enough for daily consumption.
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