Fresh Food

Sprouts launches program to ‘rescue’ less-than-perfect produce

The grocer’s new Rescued Organics program aims to reduce food waste and support farmers by selling imperfect fruits and vegetables at a discount.
Sprouts Farmers Markets
Sprouts Farmers Market is launching a program to reduce food waste. / Photo: Shutterstock

Sprouts Farmers Market is launching a program in its California stores designed to reduce food waste by selling less-than-perfect produce at a discount.

The specialty grocer’s new Rescued Organics program will sell fruits and vegetables at 130 stores that may be “misshapen, under- or over-sized or slightly off-color” but still tasty, Sprouts announced Tuesday. The organic produce will be sold at a discount. To start, the program will feature onions, grapefruit, lemons, oranges, pears, carrots, kiwi and bell peppers.

“Five billion meals worth of edible food are left on farms each year, and the Sprouts Rescued Organics program is designed to help address that problem,” Sprouts President and COO Nick Konat said in a statement. “This program allows our customers to partner with us to reduce food waste by taking home delicious, high-quality organic fruits and vegetables that may look a little different but are perfectly good, keeping so-called ‘imperfect’ produce out of the landfalls.”

The program will also help farmers, Sprouts said, who may have previously had trouble selling imperfect produce.

“Too much perfectly good produce goes to waste, solely due to appearance, and contributes to our growing environmental and landfill problems, said Mindy VanVleck, director of sales at Peri & Sons Farms, one of Sprouts’ partners in the project. “Sprouts’ Rescued Organics program also allows Peri & Sons Farms to more efficiently fill our produce trucks, which helps the success of our local farm and lessen our overall carbon footprint for delivery of goods.”

In recent years, grocers have launched a variety of initiatives to reduce the mounting problem of food waste.

Stop & Shop this week said it was expanding its partnership with digital marketplace Flashfood. The program offers deep discounts on food that’s nearing its best-by date. Shoppers can use the Flashfood app to find and purchase eligible items and pick them up in-store. Meats, dairy, seafood, produce, baked goods and more are sold at up to 50% typical prices.

Flashfood said it has diverted more than 40 million pounds of food from landfills since its founding in 2016.


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