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How We Calculate Our Environmental Impact

We’re here to reimagine the food system and build something better—and we know you are, too! We’ve shared some of the ways we make an impact in our Annual Report, but soon, you’ll be able to see how every order you place at Misfits Market helps to fight food waste and supports our mission of making shopping for sustainable groceries easier. Just click over to your My Account page to see your running tally, and read on to learn more about the stats themselves and how we calculate them. 

What’s my impact as a Misfits Market customer? 

On average, a Misfits Market customer saves the following per order:

  • 4.79 pounds of food from a lesser outcome (more on that below!)
  • This conserves 189.44 gallons of water
  • It also conserves 4.01 pounds of CO2e emissions*

How do you calculate these statistics? 

  • We calculated these food recovery statistics based on the records of the foods Misfits Market has purchased. Whenever we make a purchase, we work with the vendor to understand where the food would’ve gone had we not purchased it, so we know how many pounds of food we’re saving from a lesser outcome or waste.
  • Since 2020, we’ve partnered with Watershed to intensively measure the carbon impact of each area of our business and operation. They’ve also helped us identify the carbon savings of our sourcing model, including the total amount of emissions that are saved by sourcing foods that would have otherwise gone to waste or a lesser outcome. You can see the impact of these saved or “avoided” emissions above and on your My Account page.
  • We measure our water impact using publicly available sources such as Water Footprint Network, UNESCO, and the USGS, which provide data about the approximate number of gallons of water that are needed to produce various food products, such as produce and packaged foods. We calculate our water savings by multiplying these water usage figures by the aggregate weight of the applicable food product that we saved from waste. However, because not every food product that we rescue is included in the water intensity reports available today, we may have to make certain assumptions to determine our water impact. For example, to calculate the water savings from chocolate chip cookies that we saved from a lesser outcome, we might use the water savings figures from chocolate, sugar, and bread from the sources described above as the best available approximation. 

What does it mean to save food from a lesser outcome? 

When we say something’s saved from a lesser outcome, we simply mean that by buying this food, we’re preventing an outcome that would have been worse for the environment and/or the people that grew it, such as going to a processor or juicer, ending up as animal feed, being composted, left in the field, or getting sent to landfill.

Why does saving food from lesser outcomes matter? 

When we grow food, we want it to be eaten, honoring all the resources that went into growing it—water, energy, financial investment, time, and care. For Misfits Market, the highest outcome for our food means feeding humans! When we aren’t able to use food to its highest potential in the food system, we’re wasting our precious natural resources. After all, we’re on a mission to reduce food waste and make shopping for sustainable, high-quality groceries easier and more affordable. 

To visualize why all of this matters and what lesser outcomes can mean in practice, check out our new favorite food pyramid, the EPA’s food recovery hierarchy. It’s a comprehensive look at the spectrum of the most and least effective ways we can address food waste as a society.

How does upcycling play into this? 

Upcycled foods are another way we can save even more food. Instead of manufacturing byproducts and cosmetically imperfect produce, meat, and seafood (like salmon tails, bacon ends, and bruised tomatoes) going to lesser outcomes, manufacturers turn them into tasty new items. Buying these items is an easy way to support a forward-thinking food system—the more upcycled goods we opt for, the bigger our impact.

We update our impact stats at a regular cadence to reflect current customer impact. Thanks for helping us make a bigger impact on the food system every year!

*This figure is based on purchases made by Imperfect Foods only.

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