Identifying demand for ugly produce not accepted by retailers

An article in the Atlantic titled “The Murky Ethics of the Ugly-produce business” (January 25, 2019) describes platforms such as Misfits Market and Imperfect Produce that delivers to customers who both are ready to accept the misshapen fruit, care about reducing food waste and get the benefit of up to 40% lower cost, and get home delivery. But to ensure customer orders are filled, platforms sometimes also use distributors as a source. Given the impact of such platforms on reducing food waste, should they be awarded carbon credits ? If ugly produce were not sold to customers, would they be wasted or used for products such as sauces ? Should retailers accept the produce despite its shape and thus avoid the need for such secondary platforms ?

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61 Responses to Identifying demand for ugly produce not accepted by retailers

  1. Mark Stickford says:

    It’s difficult to make a clear cut decision on whether supermarkets should take in ugly produce so that these markets aren’t needed, as it is a case-by-case basis. However, I believe that as it stands now there is open market space for these services, which is why they have been created. If these ugly or misshapen fruits and veggies were planned to be be used for sauces, then it is likely that they would’ve already made their way into those sauces. As I understand, there is a process that specifically chooses which products will be going towards sauces before they are offered to a supermarket. If there is a way to send unsold, overripe, or ugly produce back to a distributor for sauce use then that would take a large amount of waste out of the marketplace, which would always be positive.

  2. David Ng says:

    Though the article did not mention the nutrition values for ugly produce, I believe their nutrition values are the same as the sophisticated ones. However, it’s difficult for retailers to accept these ugly produces because most customers prefer the perfect ones. Therefore, companies such as Misfits Market and Imperfect Produce create a platform to deliver those products to a lower socio-economic area. To reduce waste, I believe that ugly produce can make its way to use for products such as sauces. In addition, I think those companies should be awarded carbon credits if there are guidelines on how much of those ugly produces are sold to customers.

  3. Sara Yung says:

    Platforms like Misfits Markets and Imperfect Produce serve as great mediums for consumers to get groceries that would typically be thrown away in a grocery store. The business plan of these platforms caters to those that care about reducing food waste while also get less expensive groceries with delivery. I think these platforms should be awarded carbon credits for their efforts. Food waste is a massive issue in the United States and other countries, that has caused issues with the overall health of the earth. I think “ugly produce” should be used for products such as sauces because the produce itself might have a minor visual imperfection, but the overall taste, nutritional value, and use of the produce is the same. I think it is okay if retailers choose not to accept these “ugly produce” items because they must maintain certain image and quality standards with their branding. I think it also allows more platforms to be successful in the food industry without necessarily having a storefront.

  4. Emma Wellington says:

    As mentioned in the article, platforms that specialize in selling “ugly” produce to consumers do help reduce food waste and provide access to fresh produce in food deserts. I think it would be difficult to award these platforms carbon credits if there is not a way to reasonably estimate the impact on food waste their service provides. If there is a manner to quantify the reduction in carbon and food waste that is attributed to their platform, then awarding carbon credits could be beneficial to providing financial incentives for these companies to continue expanding business.
    If the ugly produce was not sold to customers, it is likely that the majority would be wasted, although some could be used for other products such as sauces. The article mentioned that there is a point where it makes financial sense for farmers not to harvest the produce at all. In these scenarios, it would be wasted. However, if the produce is harvested, then it is likely it could be sold to distributors or restaurants to use in producing other foods or sold through platforms for ugly produce.
    I think there are certain retailers who could accept the produce despite its shape, but there is an opportunity for these platforms to exist. For example, retailers like Trader Joe’s whose average consumer is more environmentally aware could benefit by offering a separate, slightly discounted produce area with the ugly produce. However, I think there is an opportunity for this produce to still be leveraged through the platforms to provide access to people in food deserts. Additionally, consumer preferences have shifted to online shopping, especially in the food space due to COVID, so having this platform may provide additional convenience to consumers.

  5. Amanda Tronchin says:

    While I believe these platforms are intended to prevent food waste, I do not think that Misfits Market and Imperfect Produce accomplishes that goal. The deformed produce theoretically could be sold to companies that use those vegetables and fruits in their products. As mentioned in the article, some of this activity is happening today. Yet, it may be more advantageous to craft agreements with farmers to sell directly up until a certain amount. There needs to be a clause or an option stating if there are no deformed or misshaped fruits and vegetables to be sold, the farmer will incur a small fine. This fine would need to be smaller than the price sold to grocery stores to discourage farmers from selling good fruits and vegetables to companies that will use them in their products. If so, it could cause a shortage.

    I believe retailers should experiment with a few stores around the country and test if they sell regardless of the shape. While customers were picky about the look of their produce in the past, the belief may have changed. If it has, then retailers should include all different shapes. I believe customers are more concerned about blemishes on their fruits and vegetables rather than the size.

  6. Coumba Niang says:

    Companies such as Misfits Market and Imperfect produce should be awarded carbon credit in the event they are able to prove their impact on carbon reduction in from the production to retailing. However, if these companies directly purchase from farmers, as mentioned in the article, it can be an incentive to assess the carbon footprint but also help farmers reduce waste. These ugly produces, when not comforming the wanted “aesthetic” of consumers, can be bought by manufacturers, or small business owners to make product such as sauces because the taste and quality is still the same. I believe that retailers should create incentive to market ugly produce as eatable and they can do that through marketing and also demonstrating their commitment to sustainability.

  7. Vikram Narendra says:

    I think platforms such as the Misfits Market and Imperfect Produce are doing incredible work in providing a market for the “Ugly- produce.” Since food is available at considerably lower prices, it expands access to nutritious food to lower-income people. The 20 percent of the produce that doesn’t meet grocery standards is a significant number. If this were to go to the retail stores, they would only end up in landfills, complicating the reverse logistics and increasing the overall cost, so I don’t think retailers should be accepting this produce. The newfound platforms can positively impact the environment with economies of scale and should be rightly awarded carbon credits.

  8. Calei Kelly says:

    I think that overall such platforms have a good mission to reduce food waste and could be award carbon credits, although it probably depends on a case by case basis. Misfits Markets, for example, is working hard to support local agriculture businesses, whereas Imperfect Produce has to extend beyond its original mission to meet demand. I think that there is also of level that if “ugly” produce has another use – like salsa or a sauce – or would be purchased in lower income areas like the article mentions, these companies aren’t really helping anything at all. Moving product from an area that needs it, to an area that wants it to feel environmentally conscious, doesn’t seem to actually be environmentally conscious. I think retailers should be more accepting of food products – if people are willing to get them through secondary platforms, why would they not be willing to get them through normal retailers? However, the secondary platforms might be able to offer a price discount on these, that grocery stores can’t afford due to their low margins and tighter inventory space.

  9. abhinao kumar ojha says:

    I remember watching misfits market documentary and it was amazing how big a market it is. It doesn’t seems right to reject these misifits vegetables at all but when one think of psychological effect it does. Not all would be willing to buy physical deformed vegetables as they might want to display it but some might not care. But finding a right market to sell it is appropriate than wasting it by throwing away. this is for very simple reason that these produce has taken lot of energy, labour and water to produce and just because they are deformed it should not be wasted.

  10. Abhinao Kumar OJha says:

    I remember watching a documentary on misfits’s founder and I was really amazed but the entire concept. But now it makes sense why we only see perfectly shaped vegetables and fruits. It seems a waste of energy, water and labor if these produces are thrown or sold in low price. But when one tries to see it form the psychological and market perspective it makes sense that some of the high quality are sold at higher rate than deformed vegetables. However, it should be seen in the context, the context of how the produce is being used and made. If these veggies are using to showcase, may be deformed one are not the best but when it only comes to taste it should not be a matter. There seems to be need of business of these produce if they are being thrown away the main market.

  11. Anantharaman Gomathyshankar says:

    Misfits Market and Imperfect Produce are essentially adding a lower layer to the existing supply chain to serve inferior produce to underserved and less privileged customers. The business in which these companies are involved seems like a practical progression where low quality demand is being met with low quality supply. These firms are creating connections between demand and supply at a level which ameliorates the food problem in USA. I feel that there has to be a quantification of the societal impact created and commensurate carbon credits can be awarded.

    “Ugly” produce cannot enter the retail system as there are competitive and psychological forces at work when it comes to creating branding and impression on the customer. Ideally, all produce should be stratified into quality grades and all edible grades must enter the supply chain and reach the customers for corresponding compensation for the product.

  12. Mu Hua Hsu says:

    In my opinion, before awarding carbon credits to such platforms as Misfits Market or Imperfect Produce, it should be carefully measure did these platforms indeed reduce food waste, or how much they reduce. If giving them too many credits, it is possible to encourage producing ugly fruit. That being said, carbon credits are still an option since such platforms still can combat the food supply chain wastes. Although before the platform emerges, parts of the ugly food might go to the plant for manufacturing products, such as sauces, there still exists wastes-considering the thin margin from selling ugly fruits, farmers might choose to depose the fruits directly in order to prevent unnecessary costs.

    As for the retailers, I don’t think they have enough incentive to accept ugly fruits. First of all, the costs are relatively huge that contain not only inventory cost but also an opportunity cost to place normal commodities. Secondly, customers might have some concerns about the product quality of the retailers, and choose other competitors instead. Therefore, since the retailer probably wouldn’t buy ugly fruits, platforms for selling these products are still necessary.

  13. Sara Fortman says:

    Grocery retailers that sell “ugly” produce are great platforms to avoid food waste. It is difficult to say whether supermarkets will accept ugly produce from their distributors, because stores care about making sure their products sell and allow them to make a profit, and even though it is food, customers care about the looks of their produce when making the purchasing decision. Which is why Misfits Market and Imperfect Produce are great platforms who make sure those ugly produce is not just thrown away. There are many partnerships with farms, where grocery stores give/sell at a super low price to farmers to then feed the ugly produce to their animals. In some grocery distribution centers the produce goes through scanners to make sure each item is within a certain size and weight (along with food safety checks), and those scanners sometimes will reject the ugly produce. If there is a way grocery distributors could send those produce straight to a line/plant where those produce are made into sauces, then that would create almost no waste in the marketplace, which is a huge goal to strive for. It is hard to say if retailers should accept the produce despite its shape, because if the distributor knows the ugly produce will just be thrown away, then might as well utilize it elsewhere – sauces, farms – thus avoid the need for secondary platforms where it is a toss-up whether it will truly not be thrown in the trash. Overall, I do think platforms like Misfits Market and imperfect Produce should be awarded carbon credit, as they are making sure the trash carbon footprint on the environment are at a minimal.

  14. Kristian Komlenic says:

    I think awarding credits should only be the start. We are already having too much waste of food in US and reducing it should be viewed as an incentive to fund these platforms. These platforms are helping small growers capture revenue where other companies are overlooking due to appearance. I think platforms that are focusing on reducing waste, retailers should step in and help them with coordination on brining these produces to customers in secluded areas. However, if ugly produce is already being produced then we should find a way on not wasting it. Sauces would be a solution, but I think the end goal will be finding demand for such goods. Overall, if we were to categorize into high to low appearance vs nutrient, consumers would see the benefit of consuming the “ugly” ones. The real challenge will be developing a chain structure to support such demand, as consumption grows.

  15. Juan Bautista Rigal says:

    I believe these types of companies should be awarded carbon credits and in addition, they should also be rewarded with tax exemptions given the nature of the business. They are reducing waste, and providing food to people, an unusual combination. I think it is important that these products should also be bought by manufacturers to make sauces unless it changes their taste. I don’t believe retailers should accept this kind of products, because people will eventually reject them, and they will end up expired. By creating this secondary platform, people know what they are getting and at a discount, providing a competitive advantage.

  16. Anupam Choudhury says:

    The article talks about criticism of these alternate channels of food distribution. I think it is irrelevant who the end customers are if the food wastage is actually minimized. I agree these channels are for-profit and may not benefit the greater good of people in terms of benefiting the lower strata of the society but it does impact the amount of food waste produced and thus can be granted carbon credits. Alternatively, to reduce wastage big retailers can have a separate section for ugly produce in some pilot location to see the public reaction, and if it is a successful experiment it may reap rich benefits for the entire supply chain from the farmers to the retailers to the end customers.

  17. Yijia Chen says:

    I personally feel that we are still living in the pandemic environment of COVID-19. The decrease in fill rate due to the increased demand for food and fruits has caused various roles in the supply chain to suffer different degrees of loss. If some fruits cannot be sold without affecting the safety and taste of use, I personally think that these fruits can be made into pie or jam that can be stored for longer. At the same time, from the company’s point of view, I think that the network platform should accept the deformed-looking fruits to meet the needs of customers. The company will not lose trust and moral condemnation because of the deformed-looking fruits of delivery to customers.In contrast, these platforms can set up an option for customers to ask if they can accept deformed fruits with price deduction. In this way, these platforms can meet the purchasing needs and choices of different groups of people to achieve win-win solution.

  18. Hao-Wen Weng says:

    I believe the way how Misfits Market is promoting the ugly-produced food could benefit not only the farmers but also the customers. First, it can reduce the food wast and increase the revenue for the farmers directly if the platform can provide another way to sell the misshapen fruit instead of throwing away or selling them to the sauce company in a very low price with very little profit. Second, the customers could use lower price to buy ugly food without losing its taste, and have more choices on their tables. It is a way to build up more positive circulation on food, and I think retailers can take those misshapen food into consideration too as well, but it might hard for them to management these food because they need to build up a different standard for these kind of food aside from those beautiful food. If the retailer can accept it, it means more customers can have more choices, but somehow, it might not return those profits to the farmers since the costs of management might also increase o the retailers.

  19. Ting Lin says:

    Misshapen produce is making its appearance over social media and other platforms in recent years. What might have been discarded are now promoted as means to reduce food waste. However, selling misshapen fruits and vegetables at a cheaper price to consumers who are looking for affordable groceries does not meet the original motive to reduce food waste. Food waste happens on a daily basis when fresh produce is rotten and discarded. The core action to reduce food waste is to improve preservative methods and ensure customers have access to affordable produce.

    Also, consider the total supply chain cost when we need to fulfill customers’ needs and customize deliveries. Do these platforms have positive financial returns and can sustain the business in the long term? Compare the total supply chain cost of selling misshapen produce as an ingredient in sauces or juices that do not maintain their original shape. Those platforms should not be awarded carbon credits unless they can prove that the misshape produce is utilized compared to before. Retailers should not accept the produce since most customers are not familiar with the concept and motive to reduce food waste. It could potential hurt the retailers’ brand image.

  20. Oladapo Olatunde says:

    As we all know, a lot of sustainability argument revolves around the idea of maximizing usage out of a product, which inevitably saves money. I applaud the owner of the business, for being forward thinking and socially responsible. However, unless you live close to where Misfits market operates, that is when you can have a lower carbon footprint other than someone ordering it from farther state. If both companies can keep track of their carbon footprint and evaluate their operations to be more sustainable then they can be awarded carbon credits. Much of the produce declined by grocer will end up in a landfill. If this can be sold to retailers at discounted rate, retailers can in turn sell to consumers also at discounted price. With that there won’t be need for secondary platforms.

  21. Chia-Yen Lu says:

    In my opinion, the platform should be awarded carbon credit. The reason is that the food waste is avoided, and the ugly produce now could have more proper distribution channels, instead of just being dumped in the fields. With the new corporations, the ugly produce could be used for either sold on the platform or being processed into other products such as sauces, wine, jam, or other products. In Taiwan, we have some corporations, for example, Kaviiland, which aims to reduce food waste and they produce fruit beer out of the ugly fruits. https://www.facebook.com/Kaviiland/

  22. Shivang Batra says:

    In my view, platforms like Misfits Market and Imperfect produce are doing incredible work by reducing food wastage. They have created opportunities for the farmer(20%) to gain profit from the unsold produce and providing food at lower pricing to low-earning families. The platform can result in solving the environmental issue so should be awarded carbon credit but there should be a proper evaluation related to how much it is contributing to a reduction in food wastage. The extra produce can go both in wastage or could be sold to restaurants or sauce manufacturers.

    The retailer can accept these products but they have to design the store especially for these products as they can’t be kept along with normal produce which would add extra cost for them. So, it is much better to use such a platform. As there has been a large shift to online grocery shopping so customers can decide which platform to buy produce from as per their income level.

  23. Nicholas Reverman says:

    As the article mentioned, redistributing misshaped produce to areas where there is a lack of said produce has done great things for those communities, as well as not waste produce simply due to the way it looks, as it still has the same nutritional value. Misfits Market and Imperfect Produce have paved the way for this sort of market. Awarding carbon credits would be great, however it would be difficult to determine the exact impact that these types of services have. A solution that would be helpful would be to use misshapen produce for sauces. The shape of the produce has very little impact on the production process, other than possibly having to adjust inputs in machines. Combining both redistributing them to communities with a lack of produce, and to sauce manufacturers would help reduce waste for these. If retailers find that misshapen produce is not selling, then they should be allowed to send it back to the distributor, who can then redistribute it to one of the options mentioned earlier. The one factor that would be crucial in this process would be the lifespan of the produce, as it is limited.

  24. Zachary McClurg says:

    If the farmers do not end up selling their produce to stores or distributors, it is likely to end up in some sort of other product such as juices, sauces, jams, etc. If they cannot be used in those scenarios and end up being wasted, they will likely be used as compost. This compost would then be used for more fertile soil and provide better planting material. The breakdown of organic materials into compost is not a major cause of climate change. The delivery services being used are likely to be adding to the carbon issues. So, these companies should not deserve a carbon credit unless they are investing in electric vehicles for delivery, solar powered storage facilities, etc. Retailers are accepting what they believe their customers are willing to buy. If the retailers can change their customers’ mindsets that a goofy looking strawberry taste the same a symmetrical strawberry, then they could begin accepting produce regardless of shape. Customers want what they want. Until their wants change, there will probably remain a desire for some poorer or socially conscious customers to buy from the secondary platforms.

  25. Yi-Hsuan Hsu says:

    1. Would the ugly food be wasted or used?

    Without doubt, more than half of the produces are not consumed by the customers in the developed countries. As a result, here comes some start-ups trying to figure out solutions to this problem. They directly sell and ship those ugly food to their subscribers. However, the idea was not bought in by some food-justice advocates, as they consider the ugly food, instead of not being consumed, were actually bought by the producers in the chain and made into a variety type of products. In fact, the arguments are also not true. Because the chain is tightly related, and the upstream producers usually decide which products to produce depending on the downstream demands, not all the ugly food would be bought and became the ingredients of the other kind of products. For instance, because customers like to drink orange juices, the retailers are willing to order more orange juices to fulfill their demands. Accordingly, the producers will thus be happy to take the ugly oranges as the ingredients and produce orange juices to fulfill the orders. Therefore, ugly oranges would still be consumed in some way. On the other hand, some food would become less popular when being made into other kinds of end products. In such case, it would be less likely for them to be taken by the producers.

    2.Should retailers accept the produce?

    From the aspect of the retailers, the real problem is that it would not be cost-effective for them to collect the ugly food from the small farmers, because they could always get a better deal when buying a huge amount from the larger distributors. However, the situation could be changed, when the small farmers realize this point and formulate an alliance. First, these alliances could become their potential competitors because customers now have other places to buy cheaper food (and fulfill their responsibility to the environment at the same time). Secondly, the retailers might be able to acquire the ugly food in a cheaper price when alliances are formed. Therefore, I consider the retailers should coordinate with the farmers and accept the ugly produce.

  26. Dakota Ropp says:

    I believe it would not be a terrible idea for super markets to take the misshapen fruit. While yes, it is misshapen and might not be as good as the other fruit, you can still offer them at a lower price than the other fruit you get that is still good. It allows for people to still get food and not have the food be wasted. It also allows for the distributors and grocery stores to make a little money off of something they otherwise not be able to. While it is less money than selling the good fruit, it is still beneficial because you can find a different place to sit the misshapen fruit. This means that you can still sell all of the good fruit, as well as make extra money off of the bad fruit.

  27. Akshit Jain says:

    As mentioned in article, start-ups such as Misfit Market and Imperfect Produce are doing a marvellous job by fulfilling lower segment market demand leveraging “Ugly Produce” and also help in reduction of Food Waste. These start-ups also help farmers to reduce their loss that occurred because of product rejection based on appearance and shape. I think these start-ups are doing excellent job and they definitely deserve some rewards in form of Carbon Credits.

    Assuming that ugly products are as nutritional, healthy and flavoured as perfect looking products, then procuring ugly products for making sauce can proved more valuable for Sauce industry as these Industries can procure ugly products at 40% lower price without compromising with Sauce Quality.

    As a Pilot program, Big retailers can keep separate section in their store for Ugly Products to monitor Sale and Customer Response, if the program results are feasible and profitable for retailers, then profit margin can be passed on throughout supply chain.

  28. Chi-Wen Chen says:

    It’s important for these companies to consider the pros and cons for this new business model. While reselling the grocery with the less perfect shape can bring values to customers and sellers, there are still external factors that should be taken into consideration. The transportation cost is definitely one thing standing out during the delivery and the opportunity cost of selling bad-shaped produce instead of sending them for the original usage should be assessed as well.

  29. Aadav Srimushnam Sundaranathan says:

    The whole notion of having to classify the produce as the best quality if it meets certain shape & size, and deformed produce to be classified as ugly produce is a very wrong perspective. This idea has been psychologically seeded from our purchasing experiences and brand impressions. The question of purchasing produce should be limited to its freshness. All other factors seems to be overwhelmingly frivolous to be discussed. But nonetheless we are at the stage where there is a classification and therefore a market for it. This practice has also undercut the farmers produce’s value by paying a lower price while the inputs and associated costs remained the same. The entire concept of ugly produce is a marketing gimmick capitalized to present itself as a savior of otherwise wasted food and pays less to the producer. Chasing the perfect produce will increase more wastage, as you factor for the ugly produce. So, the retailers should accept all types of produce irrespective of its shape and size, and present them chemical free, organic and fresh.

  30. Sruthi Madadi says:

    Retailers accepting the misshapen produce differ on a case-to-case basis. It depends on how the customer perceives these products. Creating awareness that looking imperfect doesn’t mean that they are of inferior quality is important. If consumers accept that quality and freshness is nothing to do with shape, largest retailers like Walmart, Kroger will come forward to accept these produce.

    Meanwhile, companies like Misfits are using this space to reduce food waste, they should be awarded the carbon credits for their effort to avoid food wastage. Using misshapen produce to make products like sauces is also a good idea.

    Simultaneously Government can make contracts with big-size farmers to get these products at subsidized rates and can use to support meals program for homes less/ or to feed underprivileged kids at Schools. It is a win-win for farmers as they will be able to generate revenue instead of going wasted and Government will be able to reduce their costs avoiding the food wastage

  31. Lindsey Prommer says:

    Billions of pounds of fruits and vegetables go to waste every year, according to the US Department of Agriculture. This is obviously a problem. Platforms like Misfit Markets aim to make use of this wasted, “ugly” yield. By December 2020, Misfit Markets claimed to have saved nearly 300,000 pounds of food from landfills; however, a large portion of this food would go to foodservice to be cut up or mashed, or even fed to animals, so looks don’t exactly matter. I do believe that these companies started with good intentions, however, as this movement becomes more popular, these platforms are taking food from food processors; this incentivizes farmers to produce even more food than before. The executive director of Food First, Eric Holt-Gimenez, says, “this is a way to capitalize on overproduction and increase the flow of waste.” Taking all of this into account, I believe these platforms do save some food from landfills, while exacerbating the waste problem in other areas, like taking produce from sauce manufacturers. I believe they should be awarded some carbon credits for their efforts. If retailers accepted produce despite its shape (and customers were willing to buy it), then I think less food would be wasted.

  32. Li Ci Chuang says:

    I believe these eco-friendly platforms should be awarded carbon credits. With the understanding of importance of sustainability, people start to carry out 3C principles: reduce, reuse, recycle, and the government also encourage this kind of actions for residents or companies. Thus, it is not surprising to have such popularity of these platforms. I also think that retails should accept this procedure even if these vegetables, fruits are not in the good shape, because they can have special discounts for this item. Just like what retailers are currently doing: they will set price down for those close to expiring date. These goods are not spoiled, not terrible, just need to sell by the specific dates, and the buyers with price-sensitivity will be happy to purchase them. Retails can arrange a small area for the “Ugly-produce” and promote the good message that they are totally the same as others but with terrible looking. Also, one-unit purchase will lead to how many amounts of reducing of the waste. I believe that this will help retailers to attract more customers.

  33. Darsh Shah says:

    Given the impact of such platforms on reducing food waste, should they be awarded carbon credits ? If ugly produce were not sold to customers, would they be wasted or used for products such as sauces ? Should retailers accept the produce despite its shape and thus avoid the need for such secondary platforms ?

    Ugly produce is a great initiative to reduce food waste and promote sustainable usage of food. Yes, platforms like these should definitely be awarded some carbon credits so that more and more people can become aware about the importance of such platforms. I feel that if Ugly produce was not sold to the customers, then it would definitely be wasted. Using it for sauces is a great idea but it would depend on the sauce producers whether they are willing to use it or not. And not all produce can be used for making sauce. hence a majority of the produce will be wasted if such platforms did not exist.
    Even if retailers accept this produce despite the shape, there is a lower chance that customers will buy it. If retailers could bring in a separate section for ugly produce and sell it at a discounted price then there is a good chance that consumers will buy it.

  34. Rajinder Budhiraja says:

    Awarding carbon credits to platforms like Misfits markets and imperfect produce for their contribution to reducing food waste will be a double-sided sword. From one point of view, it will encourage the growth of similar platforms, however on the flip side, how do we go about monitoring the abuse of such benefits? Wouldn’t that entice producers to produce misfits to take advantage of such support mechanism intentionally? Wouldn’t it adversely affect efficient and effective utilization of already scarce resources that go into their production? I think that the free-flow of market mechanism is the best way to move forward. At the same time educating end consumers about the fact that misfits produce have precisely the same nutritions and taste will improve their acceptance rate by end consumers, and thereby retailers would also be interested in carrying misfits in their stores.

    Ugly produce is already used by Ho-Re-Ca (Hotels, restaurants, and caterers) in their products where the fresh produce goes into sauces, and other delicacies where the final product doesn’t show its shape in the dishes served to consumers.

    Expecting retailers will accept misfits when they cannot sell to the end consumer will be a futile expectation. Unless we educate the end consumer that ugly produce items are just as nutritious as their aesthetically pleasing counterparts and have the same flavor, we cannot expect retailers to accept something they cannot sell. It will worsen the supply entire supply chain performance if retailers are forced to accept misfits. Anyhow, if that happens, the cost would inadvertently be passed on to the end consumer through higher prices for good fits.

  35. Abhinao Kumar Ojha says:

    The idea of “ugly-produce” in my take is more psychological driven than anything. Even with the same nutrients, there is huge price gaps. The impression that certain looking fruit has more nutrient though might find some reason in evolutionary process but this finds no logical ground with current market trend. However, be that as it may these products are finding some market in unique ways of bring tagged as misfits and sold at lower price than what it would have been invested on. This is evident that because certain chance are being sold at high price as some chucks are being rejected based on the physical deformation. The the drive to make perfect looking food looks very superfluous as physical formation as almost no role in the utility of the produce.
    On the question of these market getting carbon credits seems even more unnecessary, as making awareness about the current wastage due to this should be a prime focus to reduce carbon print and for sustainable price and environment. The producers should accept all the produce despite its deformation and make it presentable for the customer by making them aware of its use and impact it has on our environment.

  36. Yen Hung Chou(Misha) says:

    In my opinion, I firmly believe these platforms such as Misfits help society reduce lots of food waste. However, the imperfect food platforms shouldn’t awarded carbon credits because these platforms already got lower price from farmers or others food suppliers. Furthermore, it is difficult to estimate how many carbon credit they beneficial to society.
    In my opinion, the ugly food should not be wasted because these food can be used for products such as not only sauce but also juice, ice cream. Furthermore, in my home country Taiwan many house wives consider the ugly food as more organic food because it represents nature food. Thus, there are willing to buy food with some bug bites or not beautiful vegetables or fruits in traditional market. In the other side, retailer will definitely not accept ugly produces because people who go shopping in supermarket will like to have food with low price and perfect ones. In conclusion, these platforms can collaborate with Traditional market in Asia or some farmers market in US.

  37. Rubin Mao says:

    I definitely agree to award such platforms carbon credits. Now, with the development of the economics, people are getting higher incomes and chasing better life quality. Thus, more and more manufactures and retailers aim to provide customers with higher quality products, even luxury or premium. Products with shape problems will not be accepted by most of the retailers. It is risky if customers reject products with shape problems, since no one would pay for the same money but getting a product with defects. It is needed to have certain retailers to deal with such products. Online platform is a good mode. By providing quality service, there are markets to sell defect products with great discounts. If the ugly products are not sold to the customers, they may be throwed or just put on the rack for long time till the next step, which could be dumped then or transferred to another retailer with very low price. No matter what, the retailer will lose a large amount of money, like holding and transporting costs. Besides the money, it is truly a waste to dump something that still has value and also a waste to the process it being made. That’s why such platforms should be awarded.

  38. Esha Kaushal says:

    Platforms selling imperfect produce are contributing to reduction in food waste and are also spreading awareness, therefore they should be awarded carbon credits. Awarding them would also encourage big retailers to find innovative ways to reduce their food waste. Infact, it wont be surprising if big retailers start selling imperfect food items at a lower cost. While it would lead to closure of the current platforms selling imperfect produce but it will satisfy the overall goal of reducing food waste.
    Further, as the article lists a lot of imperfect food actually doesn’t get wasted and is used to make sauces etc. Brands using these produce as raw materials should also advertise their impact on reducing carbon footprint as it would encourage more people to associate with the said brand.
    Hence, awarding cardon credits may be the push needed to drive the acceptance of imperfect foods in the masses.

  39. Zeyu Hu says:

    I’m not sure if these platforms are qualified for carbon credits because although their actions reduce food waste, the process of delivering imperfect food from the farm to the customers creates additional carbon emissions. Are these platforms really play a role in reducing carbon emissions?
    I think that if science shows that appearance does not affect nutritional value of vegetables or fruits, as a consumer, I can accept sauce made from misshapen fruits or vegetables.
    I don’t think retailers such as target and whole foods will sell misshapen fruits or vegetables. As the article mentioned, most customers of Misfits Market are Americans with lowest-income could not afford high-quality fresh food. These people do not belong to the current customer group of some retailers. In addition, many middle-class or wealthy families who are the current customers of retailers still think ugly produces are defective.

  40. The establishment of these platforms and having them operate as such in the fruits market is valuable to society at large and a value-added proposition for those who can manage to achieve any profit. I am not hugely in favor of giving away carbon credits in this case however, for what this is adding to the community, offering incentives, from the government to encourage larger adoption and development of this activity and market segment should not be a bad idea. Perhaps for defined period, until the industry is financially viable and sustainable, a combination of or either one of tax or carbon credits could be given away. What I would prefer, is to see enough investments in the operations to help improve and make them very efficient. Ultimately, we would want this enterprise to be beneficial to all stakeholders, the consumer and other buyer in the chain (lower prices), the businesses (produce profits), the government (collect taxes), and the community at large (reduce food waste, environment benefits, and employment opportunities). To achieve such objectives, there is need for financial injections, as well as innovation (technical and process improvements). It seems like there is a market for the products, consumers looking for bargained prices, and processed foods companies (Heinz, Craft…) also looking to lower their procurement costs; and for them the appearance of food products does not matter if it has not expired. Offering these type of food products through grocery retailers might be a risky gamble because those would be the last option consumers will pick and therefor like to become rotten and go to waste. Establishing a niche market for these food products would be my bet for success.

  41. Haoning Wang says:

    According to the article “the ugly-produce business”, I will say that if the fruit or vegetable is ugly, it only affects the sales of original products. But from my perspective, the abnormal growth of plants has reasons. Some farmers will use some molds to put the molds on them before the fruits and vegetables are formed. This results in the square pears and watermelons that we have seen. Such fruits and vegetables are not harmful to the human body if eaten, but those deformed fruits and vegetables generally grow naturally, so their shapes are also various and irregular. The main reasons for the formation of such deformed fruits and vegetables are the imbalance of nutrients, lack of trace elements, or excessive use of hormones. If the product lack health, they should not be given the carbon credits. If ugly produce were not sold to customers, it should be wasted. As customers, we can’t distinguish the difference of the final sauce, if the manufacturer mixes them into the sauce. Therefore, the retailers should not accept the product as well.

  42. Tianlun Zheng says:

    Consumers have traditionally made purchase decisions at the store shelf, giving institutional brick-and-mortar retailers great power to learn about and influence behaviors and preferences. With the rise of e-commerce, mobile shopping, and most recently smart technologies, new competitors threaten this long-standing supremacy. Adopting a value-creation perspective, we analyze how digitization started the erosion of institutional retailing as the primary interface to the customer. We develop a framework that identifies five new sources of value creation and propose how these advance and transform competition for this interface. Depending on the importance of the new sources of value creation (in different purchase situations), stationary retailing may prevail as an important interaction point in a multichannel decision journey. However, increasing diffusion of branded-product platforms including connected devices and online retail platforms is shifting this authority to new players. For the parties involved in this multilayered competition, acknowledging the changes and actively managing their position in the evolving eco-systems is crucial.

  43. Vinay Krishna Devulapalli says:

    It is imprinted on each of our minds on how a vegetable should be like, it takes significant marketing investment to change this perspective even a bit. While most people look for perfection, few sets of people don’t care much about appearance as long it is not diminished in its nutritional value. Finding the right set of localities where these not so perfectionist vegetables would be utilized will reduce landfills. Customers coming to stores like Walmart expects to have the best of the best products and showcasing these imperfect ones will lead to fall in sales. However, these companies could have a subsidiary store where these misfits could be utilized by having them at a lower price point. The companies which are promoting this culture should be awarded carbon credits after careful evaluation of the whole chain. Manufacturing companies that process vegetables to produce entirely new ready-to-eat products could use these misfits if they are not altering the expected taste from it.

  44. Jiandong Hu says:

    I’m not sure that awarding a carbon credit would be appropriate for the ugly-produce business. I think it starts to open up too many possibilities for everyone who comes up with a new use for waste recycling to ask for carbon credits.
    Selling as much produce as possible is in the farmer’s best interest. The ugly-produce businesses are just making that happen. Are they also gaming with the younger crowd by offering the opportunity to do something good while also making it clickable convenient to order? If the ugly-produce companies stay in business, farmers will produce more, thus creating more donations to food pantries. Retailers demanding “pretty produce” have created this market for ugly produce. If the ugly-produce market stays strong, I’d assume that retail stores would make a marketing move to start carrying those “not so pretty” options.

  45. harishgavva says:

    Even though platforms such as misfit markets are very useful in reducing the landfills and providing food at lower prices to the people at the bottom end of the economic curve, awarding carbon credits to these kind of platforms needs to be done after a thorough evaluation. In current market where customers have a preference on the aesthetics of the food more than the nutritional values it is very difficult for the retailers to sell imperfect items. Having these in the stores will not increase much of the sales and the products will lose their nutrition after some time. So, I think it’s better to make use of these platforms in order to reduce the loss and also selling these products to companies where these act as ingredients.

  46. Vasif Yusifzada says:

    The platforms such as Misfits Market and Imperfect Produce care about reducing food waste, and they implement it by selling ugly produce to customers. In my opinion, given the impact of such platforms on reducing food waste, they should be awarded carbon credits because providing financial support to these types of platforms will encourage them to expand their businesses and contribute to the reduction of food waste even more.
    If ugly produce were not sold to customers, they would either be wasted or used for products such as sauces. It would be better if they would be used for products such as sauces because that would encourage businesses and distributors to reduce food waste. Also, they will get the benefit of up to 40% lower cost by using ugly produce in producing other products such as sauces.
    Accepting the produce despite its shape could be a strategy for some retailers because of demand by customers and lower cost, but I think secondary platforms do a better job in providing convenience to the customers. Since the beginning of the pandemic, customers are willing to do online shopping instead of visiting the stores, and therefore, using such secondary platforms is more convenient to the customers. As a result, there is always demand and need for such secondary platforms.

  47. Hasit Yarlagadda says:

    Although platforms such as Misfits Market and Imperfect Produce are intended to reduce food wastage, these platforms might not be necessary. Retailers could sell all the produce and later send back the unsold produce to the distributor or companies which use these fruits or vegetable for jams and sauces. Distributors could also have tie ups with companies which are ready to buy this misshapen produce and prevent food wastage. Even if this imperfect produce is not used or brought by sauce or jam manufacturers, they can be used to feed cattle or other animals. They will not get wasted. If the produce is in very bad stage, they can also be used to produce manure. Hence awarding these platforms carbon credits is also not necessary. Retailers should definitely accept the imperfect produce as well, since some customers might have no issues buying them and they might choose buying imperfect produce rather than going home empty handed.

  48. Wenbo You says:

    Although platforms such as Misfits Market and Imperfect Produce do accomplish waste reduction to a certain degree, their business incentives are to benefit from the ugly-produce niche market. Therefore, I don’t think these platforms should be awarded carbon credits.
    Since fruit and vegetable’s nutrition values are generally not affected by their shapes, I think manufacturers will be indifferent to the shape but focus on the actual quality of the raw materials when it comes to sauce and juice productions.
    When shopping, customers will pick the better-looking fruits and vegetables which are generally considered healthier. I think it is almost certain that ugly produces will be the leftovers on the shelf if retailers accept produces despite their shapes, thus, they will be in waste. Sauce and juice productions should give a good incentive of where ugly produces should be placed.

  49. Zihan Zhang says:

    I consider that carbon credits should not become the thing to influence the market. What matters is the total profitability of the whole supply chain system, as well as its waste to nature. It is a very good idea to sell those bad-looking products (but quality acceptable) to those customers who are willing to pay at a lower price. In my opinion, it is very common to see those products which are not acceptable by the customer flow to the secondary market to create more value for the whole market and the suppliers.
    Whether the retailers should accept the ugly products depend on themselves, as long as the quality meets their expectation and nationwide regulations. Retailers can increase their sales volume by diversifying the market niches and try to sell those products to low-income families at a cheaper price to earn more popularity and profits.

  50. Daniella Cobos says:

    I think some retailers will not accept the produce despite its shape because some customers relate the shape of the produce to the quality. Therefore, I think that these companies are doing something great. Customers that are environmentally conscious as well as those with economic hardships will gain two things: save money while making a positive impact and reduce waste. Some of it could be used for sauces.

  51. Colton Kaplan says:

    Misfits Market and Imperfect Produce are targeting environmentally conscious individuals. They should be awarded carbon credits if there is a direct correlation to the reduction of food waste. I believe the platforms should work with restaurants as well as companies that make sauces to provide the product at a lower price. In addition, if there is still leftover produce they should set up a system to donate it to a homeless shelter kitchen. There should be a small section of misfit produce at retailers with lower prices. I believe the consumers who are price conscious would purchase them.

  52. Nilo M Cedeno says:

    First of all, absolutely these platforms that help reducing food waste, must be awarded carbon credits. Our earth has a tremendous gap between overstocking and scarcity of food and this comes from an unbalanced global supply chain management system. Misfits Market and Imperfect Produce are contributing this inequality to be lower. It comes to my mind that these platforms should be supported and/or promoted by social projects that come from companies of food production. Also, they can create a business line to support those countries or regions that have problems with food scarcity; using these production that for some is “waste” for others can save lives. After this, by creating a Global Supply Chain Management system, distribution of these products will be more popular and will increase the demand everywhere.

  53. szargham says:

    The ugly product can be used for other purposes. For juicing and smoothies, the shape has no value and the taste and freshness is more important. I suggest producer, can find different channels to sell their products or find different use for their products and sell them. I dont think carbon credit should be used since it does not address the environmental issues at its roots and it will only prolong the carbon reduction at the production level.

  54. Wei-Ling Huang says:

    I think that the platforms like Misfits Market and Imperfect Produce have a beneficial influence on the society at large in terms of food waste reduction, and awarding carbon credits could be an incentive to the potential companies that are considering to support this trend.
    If ugly produce were not sold to consumers, to reduce waste, I agree that it would be a good solution to sell them to manufacturers for sauce or other processed food, or just distribute them to people in need at local food pantry, as long as the food is eatable without causing any health issue.
    Nowadays, most retailers have a section of ugly fruits for the ugly produce that stay at the stores unsold for a while. If you go to the back side of a supermarket like Walmart, you can see or even smell the rotten produce from the trash trucks. Thus, I think the retailers can accept the agreement and cooperate with the platforms to utilize the misshapen produce.

  55. Su Tien Lee says:

    Food waste is really an issue around the world, and as a customer, I am really willing to buy the misshapen fruit on those platforms at a lower price. The foods are still edible, only that they don’t look good. As there is a demand, there should also be a supply. Also, even if the foods don’t go to any end customer, at last, they can be used as sauces, jam, or other canned food. Therefore, the platforms doing these good deeds should be rewarded either with carbon credits or other benefits.
    For retailers, I think they can also accept all the food regardless of the shapes and outlooks. They can gather these foods in an isolated area and provide a lower price for customers who don’t mind the outlook that much. This gives customers more choices, forming a win-win within both the retailers and the customers.
    The platforms themselves of course have a lower brand exposure to customers than retailers do, so authorities should also figure out more ways to promote, otherwise they still couldn’t sell much of the unshapen foods. Under this situation, I think the better way is to have retailers setting up a special area for those foods so that customers would not need to spend extra time searching for platforms selling the misshapen foods.

  56. Brian Mbui says:

    I do think these platforms need to be awarded carbon credits for the sole reason that they are key in reducing so much food waste that would be happening if the retailers would have no where to take the produce that was not eye pleasing to the customers. Hence having this platform is a very key aspect to the whole chain in ensuring the farm produce is utilized completely. Sometimes the ugly produce ends up being used for salads, juices and smoothies which is also a great way to reduce wastage, however, you can only make so much salad, juices and smoothies, so they will still need to find a way to put the ugly produce to use or else it goes to waste. The retailers are trying to do what’s best for their business and profits since customers will not care most of the time and will just go ahead and choose the best looking produce leaving the manufacturer to figure out what to do with the left overs. So they refuse the ugly produce for both profits and also reputation, since if a customer encounter ugly produce on their shelves several times they might end up blacklisting the store and choose to go with a different retailer in search of good looking produce. Hence, the need for the ugly produce platform still remains while still trying to raise awareness that ugly produce is still fresh produce.

  57. Ahmed Hegazy Ali says:

    I don’t think they should be awarded credits for promoting misshapen produce. I think that they should be given carbon credits if they follow the customer usage and ensure that these items are used sustainably.

    I think that the produce should be used for the usage of sauces, rather than get thrown away. However, they should be used under assurance that they’re safe to eat. Moreover, these items need to have rigorous quality control metrics, and need to have strong FDA regulation to ensure that only misshapen items are used.

    I think that retailers can discount these items and sell them to the public. I also think that supply chains can start integrating chefs and restaurants to ensure that that more qualified personnel are using misshapen items to change the stigma.

  58. Abhishek Chippa says:

    Companies such as Misfits market and Imperfect produce are indeed useful in reducing the food wastes. They help deliver the deformed food at a lower cost which is very beneficial for lower income group. However, I don’t think carbon credits should be awarded to these countries because even though they help reduce the landfills, many of these companies are not delivering to the people living in food deserts where people lack affordable and quality food. Since retailers will not be able to sell these products, platforms like Misfits market and imperfect produce are necessary to sell these foods.

  59. Yilun Xie says:

    I believe that these companies and platformers that reduced food wastes in such way should be awarded for the action. But the achievement should be recognized by the amount of reduced food waste that actually being consumed by the consumers. If the ugly food products did not get to sold to customers, their destination will probably by the demand. If the sauces that made of that product were popular or in high demand, then all the unconsumed products will be produced into sauces.
    It would not be a good thing to encourage retailers to accept the produce despite its shape as that might harm the consumers. Consumers will always want their produce in good shape. Such action will make a retailer lose its competitiveness in the industry. Therefore, most retailers would not accept the ugly-shaped produce.

  60. Liang-Chou Wei says:

    According to Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), 1/3 of the food produced in the world every year, about 1.3 billion tons of food are discarded or wasted throughout the food supply chain. Misfits Markets get a great opportunity from global food waste problem. From where I stand, platforms like Misfits Markets should be awarded carbon credits since food waste somehow indicates the food supply chain inefficient and by introducing “ugly produce”, or upcycling the food, it could bring significant impact to reducing the demission of CO2. Trying to add value to the “ugly produce”, such as sauce, might be a good business plan since the imperfect of their shape are not appealing to the market. However, B2B might apply to “ugly produce”, especially for the food production firm or the restaurant.

  61. bmyczkow says:

    The root cause of misshapen food waste comes from the perception of what a fruit or vegetable “should” look like. When in reality, the quality or taste of most fruits or vegetables rarely depends on the appearance. For example a common theme is buying green bananas because people thing brown are spoiled, brown bananas are actually better and ripened. While companies such as misfit market reduces food waste, they also have other pollutants, mainly transportation, as such I do not think they can be awarded carbon credits because they do little to nothing different than normal stores. Ugly produce not sold to consumers has numerous different lifecycles. In many cities restaurants send their food waste to local hog farms, or use it directly for compost in their own gardens. Both of these methods help in reducing food waste and actually stimulate other supply chains to be more carbon friendly. One potential solution to the “ugly” stigma is educating the general public towards the differences of appearance, ironically the more perfect a vegetable looks the more chemicals it has had used on it.

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