In The News



(UPDATED COVERAGE July 8) Church Brothers LLC is partnering with Compass Group USA on #ImperfectVeg, a program to reduce food waste and water use by selling fresh produce previously discarded or unharvested for cosmetic reasons.

The Salinas, Calif.-based grower-shipper plans to display its #ImperfectVeg product line at the Produce Marketing Association Foodservice Conference and Expo July 26 in Monterey, Calif., at booth No. 23.

The line includes field-packed romaine leaves and cauliflower; value-added broccoli fines (a by-product of florets); and second crop baby kale, baby chard and clip spinach.

“We are starting with a small number of items to trial first with the direction of Compass Group,” Vince Ballesteros, Church Brothers vice president of business development, said in a news release. “Once we receive feedback, we will evaluate where there is opportunity to improve and expand the product list.”

ompass Group USA’s initiative is Imperfectly Delicious Produce, or IDP. That has been building awareness with restaurant operators, chefs and consumers, Ballesteros said.

“We are seeing more support and requests for these edible and nutritious fresh produce items and we’re working with our distribution partners to make the introduction and implementation of these products successful,” he said.

“Ideally, if we are able to educate chefs on what they are receiving, the #ImperfectVeg could be more acceptable with the foodservice sector as consumers choose off a menu description, compared to at retail where shoppers buy with their eyes,” Kori Tuggle, vice president of marketing, said in the release.

“Growers, foodservice operators and chefs benefit from the halo effect of the product’s story, and consumers want to do their part in helping reduce food waste and eat vegetables that use less water to grow,” she said.

#ImperfectVeg products are not sold under the usual specifications, or weren’t previously offered, which makes price comparisons difficult. Cauliflower, for example, is sold by a minimum net weight of 20 pounds rather than by head count. And baby kale, baby chards and clip spinach, which normally sell value-added, do not for #ImperfectVeg.

Church Brothers grows, processes and ships more than 500 fresh vegetable stock-keeping units.

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