This is part two of my “ugly produce” box review. If you have not read my first post, I would recommend you doing so before continuing here. 🙂
First, apologies for not having this review up sooner. I had most of it written then my computer crashed out and I lost the entire post. I was so irritated I just couldn’t start over until today.
That said, my “ugly produce” box finally arrived! I don’t know the last time I was so silly excited about something. My box was delivered as scheduled by FedEx and left at my front door on Wednesday. I’ve been working from home lately, meaning I was here to grab my box as soon as it was dropped off. While it was packaged really well, it will NOT survive all day on my front porch in the brutal summer heat during the next few months. It will be fine for a few hours, but not all day. Nice fact though, I received an email as soon as they dropped it, so that will be very helpful!
I want to take a few minutes to walk you through the exact process I went through. This is a very easy, painless (other than the waiting) process.
First, surf over to Imperfect Foods and set up an account. I am going to post a coupon code at the bottom of this post for you to use if you set up an account. Using the code gets you and me both a one-time $10 credit! So anyhow, once you have a username and password you will customize the box you want – box type, size and frequency. Here are the options for each category:
For reference I have mine set as regular, medium and every other week. You can change these preferences at any time. Now, each box has to have a $30 minimum order each time you get one. I don’t know how it works with the larger boxes, but I had to select a standard “add on” from either pantry/grains or meats to supplement my veggie/fruit purchase. I selected the pantry/grains, but more on exactly how this works in a bit.
Next, you put in your payment information. You can cancel or pause your service at any time. There is no long-term commitment with this service.
Now you wait…
Selecting your box contents
The week before my box came I received an email informing me I could make my selections beginning on Friday afternoon and continuing through Sunday for my Wednesday delivery. As I mentioned in my first blog about this, I only have the option for Wednesday delivery. If you live in a larger town your options might be different than mine. I also had to wait quite a while for my first delivery because of the nation-wide lockdown we have been under. I’m sure the wait for your first box is not normally nearly so long.
The selection part of this was super easy. My cart was already filled with the recommended fruits, veggies and grains, but I could make changes to those. For example, my cart was preloaded with garlic and two kinds of oranges among other things. I had just purchased garlic and don’t care for oranges, so I was able to remove both of those by simply hitting the “minus” next to the item count. You can clearly see exactly what you are getting, how much and the price of each line item. Now here is the cool part – once I removed the two items I could even further customize my account by telling Imperfect Foods that I did not want the item RIGHT NOW (garlic) or that I NEVER wanted the food (oranges). The never foods will not be recommended or pre-loaded to my cart ever again! Very cool!
So, after those changes my cart total was at $18.47. Now I need to find $11.53 worth of additional items to add to my cart before it can ship. First, I cruised over to the produce section to see if there was anything else I wanted to order there. Not seeing anything that really interested me, I moved over to the pantry section. There I selected another pasta and an apricot fruit spread.
I did notice on the pantry/grain and meat sections it lists the reason for imperfection – at least this time around it seemed almost all of the items were listed because of overstock reasons. Ok, so with my two additional pantry orders my total is now at $23.45. Off to the meats section to finish this off. I picked a package of smoked salmon and a sirloin steak. This put me slightly over my $30 requirement, but there are no issues with going over, you just have to meet the minimum. I checked my cart one last time to ensure I was happy and then told them to ship it to me!
What I got
I could not wait to open my box when it got to my door to see how the produce looked! Here is what I received:
Overall, I was impressed with the quality of produce I received. I had one cucumber that was almost overripe and one peach that had a bruise. The tomatoes, avocados and peaches were a little undersized, which was likely why they ended up in this box. Overall though, the produce was beautiful!
One of my biggest questions about this box was if it was a good deal. Here is quick breakdown I did with prices at Kroger, which is where I shop most pre-pandemic. On most of the pantry/grains and meats, I could not get the same brands locally, so I went with what looked the closest to what I received. I’ve highlighted the items that were cheaper in the store in red (I put the peaches in red because while the store was higher, the peaches from the box were much smaller than I would have gotten in the store). I could not even find loto rice anywhere around me, but finally found something that I could order online.
|Product||Imperfect Food cost||Kroger cost|
|Conventional Onions (1 ct)||$0.79||$0.50 each|
|Conventional Cucumber (2 ct)||$0.89||$0.50 each|
|Conventional Carrots (1 lb)||$0.79||$0.95/ lb|
|Conventional Tomatoes (3 ct)||$1.49||$0.30 each|
|Conventional Green Bell Peppers (2 ct)||$1.69||$0.89 each|
|Conventional Avocados (2 ct)||$1.59||$0.79 each|
|Conventional Mushroom (8 oz)||$2.59||$2.19|
|Conventional Peaches (5 ct)||$1.69||$0.92 each|
|Conventional Limes (3 ct)||$0.49||$0.50 each|
|Conventional Spinach Bunch (1 ct)||$1.99||$0.99|
|Anna Orecchiette Pasta (16 oz)||$0.99||$2.49|
|Anna Pasta Orzo||$0.99||$1.99|
|Cucina & Amore Pasta Fusilli (16 oz)||$1.99||$1.49|
|Imperfect Foods – Loto Rice (16 oz)||$3.49||$3/lb (bulk only)|
|Bonne Maman Intense Apricot Fruit Spread (8.2 oz)||$2.99||$4.59|
|Waterfront Bistro Smoked Atlantic Salmon Scottish Style (4 oz) –||$4.99||$7.49|
|Tyson Open Prairie Center Cut Top Sirloin Steak (5oz)||$3.49||$3.10 (bulk only)|
Overall, I feel like the box was a good idea and I will keep receiving them for now. While I paid a little more for some items, my grand total came out about $4.45 less than if I had purchased in-store. I say “about” because I cannot buy the same brands and the same weights on all the items I received in my Imperfect Foods box, so the comparison isn’t exactly apples-to-apples. I started to incorporate the shipping/delivery charge, but ultimately decided not to since I have to drive 30 miles one way to go to Kroger and the prices at the stores in my town (a local grocery store and a regionally-local store) would be higher than Kroger. There is a WalMart in my town, but I HATE going there, so I feel like the convenience factor really comes in to play. 🙂
I’m calling it a win for me. This might not be ideal for someone that lives in or near a big city where community supported agriculture (CSA) or large farmers’ markets are available. In those instances, I would for sure suggest you support your local farmers when possible before going this route. For people like me where the local selection is limited, this is a great way supplement what can be purchased locally from local growers.
If you would like to try Imperfect Foods, use this link and you will receive a $10 credit on your first order. Full disclosure, I will receive a $10 credit as well if you use the above link.
Here is a picture of the first meal I create with my food stuffs plus a few items from my pantry:
I hope this has been as educational for you as it has been for me! Happy snacking!