Imperfect Produce ripens job market in Tucson

Imperfect Produce is a San Francisco-based startup that sells just that – fruits that aren’t perfect enough to be sold in stores – at discounted prices. This month, the company announced that they will be expanding to Arizona, developing their first national customer care center in Tucson.

Imperfect Produce buys “ugly” fruits and vegetables directly from local farms and delivers them to customers at a discounted price. According to Imperfect Produce, more than 20 percent of fruits and vegetables never leave farms because their appearance doesn’t maintain retail standards. By buying and selling this produce, the company is saving customers money and assisting farmers in generating more sales.

Food waste has become a serious problem in the United States, and Imperfect Produce hopes to combat that. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, between 30 and 40 percent of food supply was food waste in 2010, which accounted for 133 billion pounds and $161 billion worth of food. Imperfect Produce is helping to mitigate that problem by ensuring that all fruits and vegetables leave farms, no matter what appearance defects they may have.

The company announced that the new center will create 350 customer care jobs over the next five years, for which anyone can apply. According to chief operating officer Derek Gordon, the positions start at $15.50/hour and also offer benefits and stock options. In fact, Gordon notes that one of the main reasons the company chose Tucson is because of its impressive workforce.

At the end of 2019, Imperfect Produce may also create a distribution center to deliver produce to the Tucson community. Buying local farmers’ produce will help boost local sales and generate more tax revenue for the state. Overall, the company’s expansion is expected to have an economic impact of $137 million by 2019.

Tucson Metro Chamber President and CEO Amber Smith expressed her excitement about Imperfect Produce’s expansion. “This expansion is one more sign that Tucson is open for business and a great community to live, work and play,” she said. “Our unique culture, available talent, logistics, assets and proximity to the border make Tucson a strong partner for businesses.”

Imperfect Produce may sell ugly fruit, but it still maintains a promise to its customers: “We promise to reliably deliver fresh, healthy, delicious produce to your door every week.” This mentality makes Tucson a perfect location for Imperfect Produce – both the company and city are dedicated to providing its residents with goods and services of only the highest caliber.

Ben Norman

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