Raley’s Family of Fine Stores on Saturday will officially become the first major grocery chain in the U.S. to begin selling produce that might otherwise be headed for the landfill. The West Sacramento, California-based grocer says the program offers a new path toward affordable produce and an additional way to showcase Raley’s best in fresh. The “REAL GOOD” produce program will offer customers scarred, aesthetically challenged produce for a lower cost than unblemished products.
“Raley’s ‘REAL GOOD’ produce program is a new way that we can support our growers and reduce food waste while offering our customers the best quality in fresh,” said Meg Burrit, Raley’s director of wellness and sustainability. “While the ‘REAL GOOD’ produce may be uniquely shaped, sized or colored, you can also count on it having that great Raley’s flavor and quality—at great low prices.”
Raley’s is partnering with Imperfect, whose goal is to market these cosmetically challenged fruits and vegetables so that they can be bought and eaten instead of wasted. According to a NRDC report, up to 30 percent of produce grown in the U.S. is discarded, often as a result of arbitrary aesthetic standards that do not affect the flavor or nutritional value of the produce. Imperfect works with farmers to provide slightly blemished produce to Raley’s stores.
“Imperfect is thrilled to be partnering with Raley’s to bring ugly produce to their customers,” said Ben Simon, CEO of Imperfect. “We expect folks to see that even the fruits and vegetables that look a little wonky on the outside still have just as great quality and taste. At the end of the day, it is what is on the inside that counts.”
The REAL GOOD produce program rolls out July 11 at 10 Raley’s locations, with summer produce offerings such as REAL GOOD Plums, REAL GOOD Peppers and REAL GOOD Pears at prices 25 percent to 30 percent lower than flawless produce. The 10 Raley’s stores that will participate include: 8391 Folsom Boulevard, Sacramento; 6231 Fruitridge Road, Sacramento; 10430 Twin Cities Road, Galt; 2077 Main Street, Oakley; 700 W Onstatt Road, Yuba City; 7847 Lichen Drive, Citrus Heights; 4255 E Morada Lane, Stockton; 3518 Marconi Avenue, Sacramento; 2222 Grass Valley Highway, Auburn; and 13384 Lincoln Way, Auburn.
Raley’s operates 126 stores in Northern California and Nevada under four banners: Raley’s Supermarkets, Bel Air Markets, Nob Hill Foods and Food Source.