Imperfect, a company focused on fighting food waste by finding homes for cosmetically imperfect fruits and vegetables, announced the East Coast expansion of the company's operations with a new distribution center in the Baltimore area. 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, in a statement. "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.
The company noted its expansion is expected to create new full-time jobs in the Baltimore area, 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.
Additionally, outside of market expansion, Imperfect stated it 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.