Reviews

Misfits Market Review: Can Ordering “Ugly” Produce Save You Money?

Misfits Market
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In this comprehensive Misfits Market review, here’s what we’ll cover:

  • The basics about the online grocer Misfits Market, including how the service works, what it offers and how much it costs.
  • Details and images of the so-called “ugly produce” and other items that are available.
  • Comparisons to alternatives like Imperfect Foods.
  • Whether the service is right for you.
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Misfits Market has lower prices on organic produce and pantry items than a typical local grocery store. While the products may have slight imperfections in color or size, the quality of the produce is above average. The biggest drawbacks are the limited selection, the long transit times of the products, and the need to order $30 worth of meat and seafood to have those particular food items included in your delivery.

Misfits Market Pros:
  • The prices are low.
  • You can choose and change your weekly delivery day (although delivery on this day is not strictly guaranteed).
  • They carry primarily organic grocery items.
  • Available in many food deserts within the United States.
Misfits Market Cons:
  • There’s a $30 minimum on meat and seafood items.
  • It’s not always clear why an item is available or where it’s sourced from.
  • Has a very limited selection of perishable grocery items, including no eggs, cheese or milk.
  • Relatively long transit times can impact product quality, especially with organic fruit and vegetable items.

What Is Misfits Market?

Misfits Market is an online grocery delivery service that works with a variety of suppliers to bring you fresh, organic produce and pantry staples for a fraction of the typical grocery store price.

It’s one of the many “imperfect food” businesses that has launched in recent years, and is best-known for offering items that have cosmetic imperfections. Usually, this means things like irregular size or coloring.

These imperfections are often small and insignificant when you’re not comparing them side-by-side to the perfectly-shaped fruit and vegetables you might find in a local grocery store. 

As an example, here’s a photo of the carrots and cucumber I received in my first Misfits box.

Example photo showing produce received from Misfits Market
These items barely qualify as “ugly produce.”

Often, under normal circumstances, these items would end up as food waste — either not shipped to grocery stores at all, or passed over by shoppers until they need to be thrown away. 

Misfits Market’s goal is to purchase this imperfect produce from suppliers at a cost savings, and then pass that savings on to you in the form of lower prices.

Note: For many people, Misfits Market is another option in the fast-growing grocery delivery market. For many others, it’s one of the only ways to affordably access fresh produce: the U.S.D.A. estimates that over 20 million people in the United States live in a food desert, and one of Misfits Market’s goals is to serve these communities in an effort to eradicate food deserts by 2025.

How Does Misfits Market Work?

Once you sign up for Misfits Market, you’ll choose a delivery day to receive your order. That opens up a three-day shopping window for you to select the items you want included in your Misfits box.

Once your shopping window is open, you’re able to see the items that are available for that week. 

Misfits Market item selection
The Misfits Market item selection process.

While there are a lot of mainstays, the available items change constantly. Often, that reflects changes in seasonal produce, but sometimes it’s because supply of the “imperfect” version of an item has run out.

It’s important to note that your delivery day is not guaranteed. Misfits Market ships via USPS, which does not offer guaranteed delivery services (except for the high-cost Express Mail package class). So while most packages arrive as expected (including mine), be aware that early or late deliveries are possible.

Misfits Market Selection

When I was testing the service for this review, there were 357 items available for inclusion in a Misfits Market box.

This breaks down as follows:

  • Bakery: 9 options. Some options included relatively shelf-stable products like take-and-break bread, pizza crust and naan. (In other words, you won’t find fresh-baked bread.)
  • Beverages: 34 options. Primarily coffee beans and tea.
  • Dairy and dairy alternatives: 7 options. These included almond milk, flax milk and plant-based butter.
  • Grocery: 170 items. A catch-all category for common pantry items like dried goods, snacks, nut butters and canned items.
  • Meat and seafood: 36 options. Including grass-fed beef, free-range chicken and plant-based protein.
  • Organic fruit: 22 options. Apples, grapes, watermelon and a variety of berries were available.
  • Organic vegetables: 76 options. With this amount of options, there really weren’t any notable vegetables not available. I searched for a variety of leafy greens (kale, red leaf lettuce and spinach), sweet potatoes and bell peppers, and found options for all three. I also found some interesting lesser-known options like organic portobello mushrooms, organic golden beets and organic microgreens, which are not always available at my local store.
  • Pet: 3 options. Treats and snacks.

Some common items not available included eggs, cows’ milk, bananas and cheese. These are significant omissions that mean most households will likely still need to do some amount of grocery shopping in addition to their Misfits Market box.

After browsing the available options, here’s a partial screenshot of my first order with Misfits Market, along with the prices.

Pricing of the items we ordered when purchasing from Misfits Market
Pricing of the items in my first Misfits Market order.

Misfits Market Box Sizes

Misfits Market previously offered two different box sizes: the Mischief Box and the Madness Box. You no longer get to choose your box size and are instead required to spend a minimum of $30 to use the delivery service.

To order meat and seafood, you need to add at least $30 worth of items separately from the $30 of produce. This counts toward your order minimum, so in theory you could order $30 worth of meat and $1 worth of organic vegetables, but not the other way around. 

There are no pre-configured boxes, such as vegan, keto or paleo. For each delivery, you start from scratch building your order from what’s currently available. 

While Misfits aims to get you to order regularly, your order won’t be fulfilled until you’ve added a minimum of $30 to your cart. As such, it’s not what we would categorize as a subscription box, but more along the lines of an Instacart alternative. There are no recurring or automated delivery options.

Additionally, there are no options for choosing only food from local farmers, so Misfits can’t really be seen as a CSA replacement. 

Misfits Market Sourcing

Misfits Market sources from a variety of suppliers, including many well-known national brands like Impossible (manufacturer of plant-based meat substitutes), Simply Organic spices, Niman Ranch, Bulletproof coffee and King Arthur flours.

Unfortunately, when it comes to much of the produce, you can’t always identify the region or farm of origin, or why the item is available. For example, Misfits doesn’t tell you that the cucumber below is sourced from a farmer in your state and is offered because it’s crooked — it just provides a basic description of a cucumber.

Misfits Market item showing no details about why it's available on the site.
Misfit’s item descriptions would benefit from having more details about why each item is available.

While Misfits will tell you if an item is organic or not (most items are), you cannot see the details of the farms themselves. For example, there’s no way to know if the food you’re buying comes from sustainable producers or big-agriculture operations that might leverage farming practices you disagree with.

While the company says it aims to prioritize food from local and regional farms, my order included products from around the United States and Mexico. Unfortunately, nothing I found came from Illinois (where I live), nor were local options highlighted on the website.

Misfits Market Pricing

What stood out the most to me about Misfits Market was the cost. They have some of the lowest prices I’ve seen when it comes to organic produce and pantry staples — well below the typical grocery store price in many cases.

If you’re selective, you can find items at 50% or more off what you’d pay at Whole Foods. Taking a random sampling from some popular items, here are the prices at my time of order (August 2021)

ProductMisfits Market
Organic strawberries (16 oz.)$3.49
100% grass-fed ground beef (1 lb.)$5.99
Organic blueberries (6 oz.)$2.99
Organic green leaf lettuce$1.59
Take-and-bake sourdough bread (16 oz.)$3.99
Good Karma unsweetened flax milk (32 oz.)$2.99
King Authur all-purpose flour (2 lbs.)$2.09
Niman Ranch no-sugar-added applewood smoked bacon (12 oz.)$6.59
Organic zucchini (2-count package).$1.19
Organic extra virgin olive oil (16 oz.)$7.99

Misfits shows you a “percentage off” figure when an item is offered below retail. However, it is worth noting that the “retail price” is determined by Misfits — which means you should consider these discount percentages to be approximations.

With that said, there are some quality deals to be found by being selective. For example, a 32-ounce bag of King Arthur organic whole wheat flour was listed at $2.99. As someone who has always liked King Arthur products, I can’t remember a time where I found this size bag for less than $5.

Misfits Market King Arthur Flower
Some name brands are available at steep discounts, including this King Arthur flour.

Before placing the order, I wondered if heavily discounted items (like this flour) were priced low due to close expiration dates. That wasn’t true with the flour, which had an expiration date two years out, or with the dried spices I purchased, which had expiration dates of two and three years in the future.

One big question I had was how Misfits’ prices compare to Imperfect Foods, the company’s biggest competitor in the irregular produce business (and one I order from regularly). 

Fortunately, there’s overlap between the two companies in terms of products available. So, taking a look at some of these items, here’s what I found:

ProductMisfits MarketImperfect Foods
100% grass-fed ground beef (1 lb.)$5.99$5.99
Take-and-bake sourdough bread (16 oz.)$3.99$3.39
Organic scallions$0.50$0.99
Organic sweet potatoes (2-count package)$2.09$1.99
Spaghetti (16 oz.)$1.99$1.49
Organic arugula (5 oz.)$2.99$4.29
Organic mango (5 oz.)$1.99$1.69
Organic broccoli (1 bunch)$2.89$3.49
Organic red kale (1 bunch)$1.59$2.75

To summarize, there’s no clear winner between Misfits Market and Imperfect Foods when it comes to prices. That said, if you’re really looking to save money on groceries, you can easily compare the two stores based on the items you’d order most.

Misfits Market Delivery Area

Currently Misfits Market delivers to all zip codes within 43 states.

As of August 2021, Misfits Market is available in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, D.C., Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Misfits Market vs. Imperfect Foods

Imperfect Foods (formerly known as Imperfect Produce) is Misfits Market’s main competitor in the irregular produce delivery business. As outlined above, the prices are similar for both services.

Both services are available in my area, and my preference is Imperfect Foods. 

Misfit Market delivers via a third party, which in my case was the United States Postal Service. This means the produce often sits in an enclosed box for up to 48 to 72 hours.

Photo showing how my Misfits Market delivery was packaed for shipment.
My order was not packed carefully for shipment.

By the time I opened my box, the lettuce was slightly wilted, the raspberries smashed (the juices were all over), and the grapes had turned slightly brown. 

My raspberries from Misfits Market were damaged upon arrival.
These raspberries arrived damaged and leaking.

Everything besides the raspberries (which customer support was kind enough to issue a refund for) was still edible and tasted good — it just wasn’t as fresh as I’d hoped for.

On the other hand, Imperfect Produce delivers via its own trucks, often packing boxes on the day of delivery. This means the transit time for the produce and refrigerated items can be as short as a few hours. 

This has an impact on quality, as the produce I order from Imperfect Foods is much fresher than what I received from Misfits.

While we have an in-depth review of Imperfect Foods, here are more key differences between the two companies.

Advantages of Imperfect Foods over Misfits Market

  1. A larger variety of meat and seafood, as well as other perishable items like butter, eggs, cheese and milk.
  2. There is no minimum to purchase meat and seafood.
  3. The shipments come with less packaging than Misfits Markets (an important consideration if you’re shopping for imperfect food because of environmental and/or ethical reasons).
  4. You can see where the produce is from and why it’s available for sale on the platform.

Advantages of Misfits Market over Imperfect Foods

  1. Has a larger produce delivery area than Imperfect Foods.
  2. Specializes in organic food.
  3. Allows you to pick the day of the week your box gets delivered. (With Imperfect Foods, you’re assigned a day of the week and it cannot be changed.)
  4. Offers a three-day shopping window, compared to only a 24-hour window with Imperfect Foods.

Misfits wins when it comes to the flexibility of both placing your order and delivery times. Also, not delivering via their own trucks does have the advantage of allowing them to serve more households. So if those are deciding factors, Misfits Market is worth checking out. 

But in a head-to-head comparison selection and quality, Imperfect Foods is the clear winner.

Misfits Market Discount Code

Get $10 off your first order with Misfits Market by using the following code: COOKWME-CL1DOVJUUMY.

Or, use this link and the code will be applied automatically.

Do Irregular Produce Suppliers Hurt Food Banks?

Food waste — which is food that’s edible for consumption but which is discarded — is a big problem in the United States. The Department of Agriculture estimates that 40% of food produced in the U.S. isn’t consumed. Yet, at the same time, tens of millions of Americans can’t afford to put healthy food on their table

This inefficiency is why, according to the non-profit group Feeding America, one out of seven people in the U.S. utilize a food bank.

That begs an important question: do irregular produce suppliers like Misfits Market take food away from food banks, selling items that might have otherwise been donated?

After conducting significant research — which I cover in more detail in our Imperfect Foods review — for now, it seems the answer is “no.”

That’s because, unfortunately, there’s so much food waste in the U.S. — again over 40% doesn’t even make it to food banks — that the small percentage siphoned off by irregular food companies has a minuscule if not zero impact on what gets delivered to food banks. 

Misfits Market Review Summary: Is Misfits Worth It?

Where Misfits Market really shines is in providing high-quality, low-cost organic seasonal produce. You can also expect to find a handful of packaged name brand items each week, offered for far below grocery store prices.

Due to its more limited selection than competitors like Imperfect Foods, you probably won’t be able to obtain 100% of your list from Misfits Market. But it’s a good low-cost source of quality produce and some discount staples for those seeking organic, healthy food choices.

See Also:

R.J. Weiss
R.J. Weiss is the founder and editor of The Ways To Wealth, a Certified Financial Planner™, husband and father of three. He's spent the last 10+ years writing about personal finance and has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg, MSN Money, and other publications.

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