Sustainability Update: Imperfectly Delicious

Sustainability Update by Jenna Keany

Sustainability Update: Imperfectly Delicious

Did you know Keany Produce & Gourmet has an on-going ‘Imperfectly Delicious Program’ selling cosmetically-flawed produce? In 2015, Keany started to market cosmetically imperfect produce, or fruits and vegetables that don’t meet physical standards in the food industry, usually in regards with size, shape, diameter, consistency, and color. When produce does not meet cosmetic standards, they can be rejected in production, processing, and distribution. Additionally, rejection of product can occur during harvesting, become tilled over, thrown in a composter, or simply sent to the landfill. According to a 2011 report on food waste by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, one in five fruits and vegetables in North America are wasted for purely cosmetic reasons. This equates to wasted water, energy, labor, and soil that were involved in every stage of the product’s life cycle.

It is estimated that for every pound of produce that does not meet industry standards, and therefore is not purchased, 25 gallons of water is wasted. This amount of water is the equivalent of leaving a faucet running for 11 minutes. Between June of 2015 and 2016 Keany Produce was responsible for selling almost 20,000 pounds of imperfect produce, preventing the unnecessary expenditure of 500,000 gallons of water.

Our program prevents the squandering of these precious natural resources, while supporting our farmers, who would otherwise take a significant loss from the “flawed” product. Currently, we are selling two local and ‘Imperfectly Delicious’ products: frozen peas from Kern Farm in Monroville, NJ (#81001) and apples from Hess Farm in Chambersburg, PA (#01441) which vary in variety and size. We also currently carry tomatoes from Florida that are cosmetically imperfect and vary in size and ripeness (#19115), green/suntan peppers that vary in color and are of a smaller size (#16158), and Idaho potatoes that are misshapen and different sizes (#16305). We are proud to offer these products and do our part in reducing food waste, mitigating environmental harm, and supporting our farmers.

UN Food and Agriculture Report on Food Waste (2011):