Sprouts is launching a “rescue” program for less-than-perfect produce

Sprouts Farmers Market is launching a food waste reduction program. / Photo: Shutterstock

Sprouts Farmers Market is launching a program to reduce food waste by selling perfect produce at a discount in its California stores.

The specialty grocer’s new Rescued Organics program will sell fruits and vegetables in 130 stores that are “not misshapen, undersized, or excessively discolored” but can still be delicious, Sprouts said Tuesday. Organic products are sold at a discount. For starters, the program includes onions, grapefruit, lemons, oranges, pears, carrots, kiwis and bell peppers.

“Five billion meals of food are left on farms each year, and the Sprouts Rescued Organics program is designed to help solve this problem,” Sprouts President and COO Nick Konath said in a statement. “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 fine, keeping so-called ‘imperfect’ produce out of the dryer. ยป

The program also helps farmers, Sprouts said, who previously may have had trouble selling immature produce.

“Too much perfectly good produce is wasted just because it looks good and contributes to our growing environmental and landfill problems,” said Mindy Van Vleck, director of sales for Peri & Sons Farms, one of Sprouts’ partners in the project. “Sprouts’ Rescued Organics program also allows Peri & Sons Farms to fill trucks more efficiently, which helps our local farm to be more profitable and reduces the overall carbon footprint for delivering goods.”

In recent years, grocery stores have launched various initiatives to reduce the problem of food waste.

Stop & Shop said this week it is expanding its partnership with digital marketplace Flashfood. The program offers deep discounts on food nearing its best-before date. Shoppers can use the Flashfood app to find and purchase eligible items and pick them up at the store. Meat, dairy, seafood, produce, baked goods and more. on sale up to 50% off regular price.

Flashfood says it has diverted more than 40 million pounds of food from landfills since it was founded in 2016.