To be very clear, we do not sell food that would have otherwise been donated to food banks. We source from the 20 billion pounds of produce that goes to waste on farms – after food banks take what they can.
To put this into perspective, Feeding America, the largest network of food banks in the United States, reported that in 2017, they received 1.47 billion pounds of produce, with roughly 10% of that coming from farms. Simply put, there are billions of pounds of produce going to waste on farms every year. As a country, we are only scratching the surface of this huge problem of food waste.
Over 3 years, the Imperfect community has recovered 35 million pounds of produce from farms that would have otherwise gone unharvested or unconsumed. While we’re proud of this impact, it’s still only the tip of the iceberg and it certainly isn’t diverting produce from food banks.
Since we launched in 2015, nearly all major food recovery organizations have steadily increased the amount of produce recovered from farms each year. Food banks around the country have all said that they haven’t seen any decrease in their supply availability with the rise of companies like Imperfect.
“Even after our nation’s food banks source and distribute as much as is currently possible, it has been estimated that 20 billion pounds of food is wasted at farms every year. We appreciate that Imperfect Produce is working to reduce the unnecessary waste of wholesome food, expanding awareness of the benefits of a nutritious diet, and creating the opportunity for Americans to get excited about fruits and vegetables – regardless of whether they appear ‘perfect’”. -Linda Nageotte, CEO at Seattle Food Lifeline
“We love that ugly fruit is getting its due and we think it can actually provide more access to fruits and vegetables rather than less” -Jodi Tick, COO at Capital Area Food Bank
In fact, Imperfect is a major net contributor to the amount of produce available for those in need. As of our third birthday, we donated over 1.2 million pounds to food banks and served 7,000 families across the country with our Reduced-Cost Program, which gives access to fresh produce for anyone eligible for SNAP at 50% the cost of the grocery store.