‘Misfits’ no more: Hy-Vee ugly produce shows big impact

By Jodi Schwan

“Ugly” produce has made a pretty big difference in keeping fruits and vegetables out of landfills.

In the four months since Hy-Vee Inc. started its Misfits program for “cosmetically challenged fruits and vegetables,” the company estimates it has rescued more than 1 million pounds of produce from being discarded.

“We are thrilled that Misfits fruits and vegetables have been so well received by our customers in such a short time,” said John Griesenbrock, vice president of produce/HealthMarkets at Hy-Vee.

“This volume of food-waste diversion is an encouraging sign that Hy-Vee’s focus on educating consumers about food -waste issues around the world is having a positive effect, and we are excited to build upon these efforts going forward.”

Misfits provides customers more fruit and vegetable variety at a lower cost while also helping to reduce produce waste, the company said. Through the program, four to six Misfit items are delivered to stores weekly, based on what is seasonably available, and are sold on average at a 30 percent discount. Some of the line’s items include peppers, cucumbers, squash, apples and tomatoes.

Hy-Vee partnered with Robinson Fresh, one of the largest produce companies in the world, to offer the line of Misfits produce.

“We have found Hy-Vee to be a rewarding collaborator for the Misfits program,” said Jim Lemke, president of Robinson Fresh. “One million pounds of produce saved from landfills is no small feat, and we are pleased to help provide a program that is beneficial to both consumers and retailers alike.”

Misfits produce is available in almost all of the more than 240 Hy-Vee grocery stores across eight Midwestern states, including in Sioux Falls.

‘Misfits’ no more: Hy-Vee ugly produce shows big impact

In the four months since Hy-Vee Inc. started its Misfits program for “cosmetically challenged fruits and vegetables,” the company estimates it has rescued more than 1 million pounds of produce from being discarded.

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