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"Aesthetically challenged" fresh produce is getting the white glove treatment by W. Sacramento, Calif.-based Raley’s Family of Fine Stores, which became the first major grocery chain in the United States to sell produce that might otherwise be headed for the landfill.
Raley's new "Real Good" produce program is being launched in partnership with Emeryville, Calif.-based Imperfect Produce, which developed a sourcing and distribution network for "cosmetically challenged" fruits and vegetables to be purchased and eaten instead of discarded, often as a result of conventional, albeit often arbitrary aesthetic standards that have no bearing on the flavor or nutritional value of the produce.
“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 product might "be uniquely shaped, sized, or colored, you can also count on it having that great Raley's flavor and quality - at great low prices," added Burrit.
'Wonky on the Outside, Still Tasty on the Inside'
“Imperfect is thrilled to be partnering with Raley's to bring ugly produce to their customers,” said Ben Simon, CEO of Imperfect Produce, which will work with farmers to provide slightly blemished produce to Raley’s. “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 rollout will begin at ten Raley’s locations to start, with such summer produce stalwarts as plums, peppers and pears at prices as much as 30 percent lower than their pristine produce counterparts.
The 10 Raley’s stores that will participate include:
- 8391 Folsom Blvd., Sacramento
- 6231 Fruitridge Rd., Sacramento
- 10430 Twin Cities Rd., Galt
- 2077 Main St, Oakley.
- 700 W Onstatt Rd., Yuba City
- 7847 Lichen Dr., Citrus Heights
- 4255 E Morada Ln., Stockton
- 3518 Marconi Ave., Sacramento
- 2222 Grass Valley Hwy., Auburn
- 13384 Lincoln Way, Auburn
In related news, Church Brothers, a Salinas, Calif.-based grower/processor/shipper of more than 500 fresh vegetable SKUs, in conjunction with Compass Group USA, recently unveiled an #ImperfectVeg platform to help reduce both food waste and water usage while supporting the ag community, further details for which can be found here.
The privately owned, family operated 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.