Bettering entry to wholesome meals for all
WILLOUGHBY HILLS, Ohio – Ashley Weingart is the founder and CEO of Perfectly Imperfect Produce. She and her team know that what matters is what’s inside.
What you need to know
- Households waste an estimated £ 76 billion in produce each year, of which “imperfections” are a major source.
- Supermarkets reject fruits and vegetables that are unique in size, shape, or color to meet consumer demand for perfection
- Perfectly imperfect product enters and saves the product, reducing food waste
- Their mission is to reduce food waste and improve access to healthy food for all
- With every box they buy, they donate products to local pantries
“It just didn’t suit me that I’ve seen so much litter at every point in the food system, from field to plate, and really just wanted to find a way to get more fresh food into the hands of our neighbors that I had not enough of this healthy food, ”said Weingart. “So I developed this new system with which we can package these items and deliver them directly to your customers’ doors.”
They source incomplete or surplus produce from local farms and wholesalers that do not fit grocery stores or consumer perceptions of perfection.
“We’re trying to teach people that fruits and vegetables don’t have to look perfect to be delicious. If you’ve ever grown vegetables in your own garden, they don’t come out of the ground perfectly shaped, ”said Weingart.
Those weird looking, easily squashed, or even excess products would likely end up in a landfill. Perfectly Imperfect Produce is in the hands of those who need it.
“It is important to keep food out of landfills as it creates dangerous methane gases that have a detrimental effect on our atmosphere. And it is also a waste of the energy and resources used to make these foods. And we also have a strong feeling that when more than 40 million Americans are starving, no food should be wasted, ”said Weingart.
Researchers estimate that around 19 million people do not have easy access to a supermarket or grocery store, also known as living in the food desert.
Perfectly Imperfect Produce is not only passionate about reducing food waste, but also improving access to healthy food for all.
“Fruits and vegetables are essential to keeping your body healthy, and we know that it is not always easy to access fruits and vegetables. That’s why we like to bring them to people through our delivery boxes,” said Jodi Mitchell, who Head of Customer Service and Community Relations for Perfectly Imperfect Produce.
For every box of groceries they sell, Perfectly Imperfect Produce donates to local food pantries.
For this reason, Monika Mirsalis is a loyal customer.
With more than 40 million people facing food insecurity in America, and nearly 2 million of them here in Ohio, she wants to be part of the solution, not add to the problem.
“It breaks my heart to think about the number of children in our own communities who go hungry every day when there is services, and not just services, but when food is available and not used,” Mirsalis said.
After all, a small blemish didn’t hurt anyone, since beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
“People just have to be open and a little bit adventurous and look past some of these blemishes or imperfections and know that they can turn them into something really amazing,” Mirsalis said.
Perfectly Imperfect Produce estimates they have saved more than 2 million pounds of product and donated more than 200,000 pounds of food to families in need in just under five years of operation.
Perfectly Imperfect Produce now offers meal sets. For more information on Perfectly Imperfect Produce, visit the website.