Hy-Vee says it has rescued more than 1 million pounds of produce from landfills, a milestone reached just four months after it began offering an “ugly” produce program.
Hy-Vee began offering the Misfits program in nearly all of its grocery stores in January. Ugly produce is cosmetically challenged fruits and vegetables that traditionally would go unsold due to the industry’s size and shape standards. Hy-Vee partnered with Robinson Fresh, which provides the Misfits program.
“We are thrilled that Misfits fruits and vegetables have been so well received by our customers in such a short time,” said John Griesenbrock, VP 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. 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.
“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.”
Employee-owned Hy-Vee has been recognized for its food donation and diversion efforts in the communities it operates. Misfits produce is available in almost all of the more than 240 Hy-Vee grocery stores in eight Midwestern states.