A volunteer fills up boxes with fruit and vegetables at the "Fruta Feia" (Ugly Fruit) in Lisbon on March 17, 2014. The co-op was created over the last year with the objective to give another "destiny" to the fruit and vegetables that don't fit   supermarket standards. Founder Isabel Sores decided to create this association in a bid to curb wastage and also help small farmers that are struggling due to the financial crisis.  AFP PHOTO / PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA        (Photo credit should read PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA/AFP via Getty Images)
What Is “Ugly” Produce? (And Why It Can Save You Money)
By Elias Nash
‘Ugly’ produce refers to fruits and vegetables that farmers can't sell to retailers because they are misshapen or off-color. There are multiple reasons that a wholesaler might reject so-called ugly produce, including shorter shelf life or the general nuisance of cutting a misshapen fruit or vegetable.
However, there are a growing number of ugly produce purveyors like “Misfits Market” and “Imperfect Produce” that are buying up unwanted produce from farmers and selling it to customers at a lower price than grocery stores usually charge. These businesses ship directly to the customer's doorstep, typically on a subscription basis.
Other grocery stores are also joining in the trend, with Sprouts Farmers Market planning to launch an ugly produce initiative called Rescued Organic at its California locations. And while this trend could potentially save food that would otherwise be wasted, some people take issue with the growing ugly food industry.
Crop scientist Sarah Taber explains that brands like Misfits Market make it sound like farmers just throw food away when much of it is actually used as animal feed or compost. Other people claim that ugly produce companies take food away from the people who need it most because non-profit food banks often rely on donations of unsellable food from farmers which are now being marked for sale.