Since first learning about “ugly fruit” boxes and subscriptions boxes for food that would otherwise end up in the landfill, I’ve been wanting to try one out. Supposedly, these subscriptions are helpful for food waste bc they take “ugly” or other types of fruit and veg that cannot or will not be used in supermarkets, and keep them from being thrown in the trash.
It’s definitely a neat idea. I’m sure that some of these subscription boxes do cut down on food that ends up in landfill to some extent but am not convinced that they are a sustainable option due to shipping, facility storage, and packaging required to take them from farmer to home.
There are many such subscription boxes available in many areas. It’s pretty easy to find them now, only a few years after they were invented. Misfits Market was suggested to me by a few friends and was the first such company I saw available in my area. I also liked the idea of Misfits Market bc they supply only organic foods.
It was easy to set up an account, choose a delivery schedule, and pay a reasonable price depending on the commitment level you choose. I chose to get a small box every two weeks. My first box arrived only a few days after I ordered. The first thing I noticed, while unboxing, was paper packaging for cushion, the next was plastic ice packs for cooling. I understand taht some fruit and veg might need to be kept cool during transport and these ice packs can be reused, or I hoped sent back to the company, perhaps?
But as I unpacked the produce, I found more and more plastic. Loose veggies were sealed in compostable and knotted plastic bags, a head of lettuce was in a plastic sheath, and some other lettuce was in a plastic clam shell. Almost all the fruit had stickers on them.
I wasn’t super pleased with packaging. The produce it’s self seemed in good condition, fresh and looked appetizing. I was was happy with the size box and delivery schedule I had chosen, as it look to be not too much to eat in 2 weeks. There was some fruit, some veg, and enough variety to use in many dishes or eat on their own.
I quickly wrote to Misfits Market to ask them to omit the plastic packaging from my next order, and got a completely impersonal, stock answer back. I replied letting them know I had hoped for an answer that actually answered my specific request. The follow up was vague, but at least more directed to my questions.
Although I had my trepidations, I continued my subscription. The second box had just about the amount of plastic as the first. Except that now the paper cushion now had plastic wrapped around it. It might take an order or two to complete my request, so I waited to pass judgement. The third box was slightly better: paper clam shells, no extra plastic beside the plastic wrapped cushion. But it still had plastic ice packs, stickers on fruit, etc…
After a fourth box, I cancelled my subscription. I couldn’t justify the amounts of plastic, and after one of the ice packs burst and leaked onto the contents I had had enough. I also found that I was not able to eat everything in the box. Although I had chosen the smallest box and at reasonable intervals, I ended up wasting a lot of food. Overall, Misfits Market was not for me.
Have your tried a “ugly” veggie box? What were your thoughts?