Imperfect, a company focused on fighting food waste by finding homes for cosmetically imperfect fruits and vegetables, announced today the East Coast expansion of the company's operations. With the opening of a new distribution center in the Baltimore area, Imperfect will become a national e-commerce player with the scale to impact food recovery coast-to-coast. This expansion coincides with new investment from Kevin Durant's Thirty Five Ventures.
"We're incredibly honored to welcome one of the most prominent figures in sports and entrepreneurship as we begin our nationwide expansion," said Ben Simon, CEO and Co-Founder of Imperfect. "With this new support, we will continue to reduce food waste nationwide while giving more people access to affordable, fresh, high-quality fruits and vegetables."
Food waste is a concern among farmers and humanitarians alike. In 2017, the National Resource Defense Council and ReFED reported that 20 billion pounds of produce is lost on farms each year. These are fruits and vegetables with small quirks in appearance that consumers rarely notice and do not impact the flavor or nutrition of the produce. By sourcing the produce straight from farmers, who would have otherwise disposed of it or sold it at a loss, Imperfect owns the full supply chain, delivering these products directly to consumers for up to 30 percent less than conventional grocery stores.
As part of Imperfect's commitment to its people and local economies, the company's expansion is expected to create up to hundreds of new full-time jobs in the Baltimore area, which includes hourly pay at the 75th percentile, benefits for full-time employees, and stock options for all Imperfect team members. In addition to expansion in the Baltimore area, which includes the surrounding Washington D.C. suburbs,, Imperfect is seeking to expand to Washington D.C. proper in early 2019, followed by all major metropolitan areas on the East Coast by the end of 2020. Outside of market expansion, Imperfect is looking to grow its product portfolio with other grocery items headed for the waste system, including short-coded items, products made with imperfect produce (such as baked goods, pickles, jams, and fruit leather), and products with packaging and labeling errors.
Launched in 2015, Imperfect has grown to 11 cities on the West Coast, Midwest, Pacific Northwest, and Southwest. The company enables customers to select the box size, type, and frequency of deliveries packed full of fruits and vegetables that would have otherwise gone to waste. Customers can also choose exactly which items they receive each week. Produce comes directly from farms and is offered as a more cost-effective alternative to traditional grocery stores. These fruits and vegetables are just as delicious and nutritious as their perfect counterparts in the grocery store.