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Hy-Vee Rescues 1M+ Lbs. of ‘Ugly’ Produce From Landfills

Hy-Vee Inc. has revealed that, aided by its customers, it has diverted more than 1 million pounds of fruits and vegetables from landfills. This milestone came just four months after it rolled out the Misfits produce program. In a bid to fight the growing problem of food waste issue, West Des Moines, Iowa-based Hy-Vee began carrying “ugly” produce in almost all of its stores last January. Because of their nonstandard appearance, many of these fruits and vegetables would have traditionally gone unsold.

“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, which joined with Eden Prairie, Minn.-based Robinson Fresh to offer its line of Misfits produce. “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 with 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’s in season, and are sold on average at a 30 percent discount. Among the line’s offerings are peppers, cucumbers, squash, apples and tomatoes.

“We have found Hy-Vee to be a rewarding collaborator for the Misfits program,” noted Robinson Fresh President Jim Lemke. “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.”

In additions to the Misfits program, Hy-Vee is striving to reduce food waste from the supply chain to distribution and disposal by implementing food donation and diversion efforts in the various communities it serves.

Hy-Vee Inc. is an employee-owned corporation operating more than 240 stores across eight Midwestern states.

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