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Sprouts Farmers Market Brings Imperfect Produce to California Stores

Rescued Organics program to improve sustainability and deliver value to shoppers and farmers alike
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
Sprouts produce dept
Produce departments at 130 Sprouts Farmers Market stores in California will now carry rescued organic fruits and vegetables.

Sprouts Farmers Market is on a rescue mission when it comes to produce. The specialty retailer announced the introduction of a Rescued Organics program at its California stores, aimed at preventing edible food loss on farms.

Through this effort, imperfect produce that would otherwise be left on fields or thrown away will be brought to market. In addition to reducing food waste, the Rescued Organics program also delivers value to consumers through discounted pricing.

[Read more: "Sprouts Farmers Market CEO Details Top Grocery Trends for 2023"]

Although these produce items can be off in shape or color compared to “traditional” fruits and vegetables, the nutritional quality and taste are the same, a message that Sprouts will share with shoppers. “Five billion meals worth of edible food are left on farms each year, and the Sprouts Rescued Organics program is designed to help address that problem,” explained Sprouts COO Nick Konat. “This program allows our customers to partner with us to reduce food waste by taking home delicious, high quality organic fruits and vegetables that may look a little different but are perfectly good, keeping so-called ‘imperfect’ produce out of the landfills.”

All 130 Sprouts stores in the Golden State will carry these items. As the program rolls out, shoppers can choose from at least 12 types of imperfect produce, such as potatoes, onions, grapefruit, lemons, oranges, pears, carrots, kiwi and bell peppers.

While the program helps improve sustainability and allows customers to access to discounted fresh food, it also bolsters farmers in a tough economic market. Participating supplier Mindy VanVleck, director of sales at Peri & Sons Farms, said she is grateful for the opportunity. “We are happy to be involved with Sprouts’ Rescued Organics program because too much perfectly good produce goes to waste, solely due to appearance, and contributes to our growing environmental and landfill problems. Sprouts’ Rescued Organics program also allows Peri & Sons Farms to more efficiently fill our produce trucks which helps the success of our local farm and lessen our overall carbon footprint for delivery of goods,” she remarked.

In other news, Sprouts continues to expand its presence around the country as it seeks to improve healthy eating and sustainability in a number of ways. This month, the retailer welcomed shoppers to a new store in Nashville and announced that it is hiring for its next location in Stockton, Calif., set to open on March 10.  In the e-commerce space, Sprouts recently began offering delivery through the DoorDash marketplace.

Phoenix-based Sprouts Farmers Market employs approximately 31,000 associates and operates approximately 380 stores in 23 states nationwide. The company is No. 53 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

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