How He Got 200,000 People To Buy Ugly Fruits and Vegetables

Imperfect Produce is a subscription home delivery service for "ugly" fruits and vegetables that are perfectly fine to eat.

“Four years later, Simon cofounded Imperfect Produce, a subscription-based home-delivery service for discounted “ugly” fruits and vegetables that are perfectly good on the inside, but otherwise rejected from the food supply chain for their looks.

“About 70 billion pounds of food is wasted annually in the United States. It’s from homes, cafeterias, farms, restaurants, grocery store and stadiums. Almost all of it is good food,” said Simon. “We wanted to think bigger about how to fight this food waste and create a more sustainable food system that was scalable.”
Simon partnered with his friend Ben Chesler, who shared his passion for social good, and the two homed in on farms as the starting point of their food recovery and delivery service. Up to 20% of the fruits and vegetables grown on farms in America is discarded because the produce doesn’t meet grocery stores’ aesthetic standards, said Simon.
“It’s often for discoloration, scarring on the surface caused by the fruit rubbing against a tree limb or an atypical shape,” he said. “Sometimes it’s the size. We see a glut of small avocados that go to waste because consumers tend to prefer larger avocados for guacamole.”

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One of Tokyo’s Oldest Soba Shops Will Open in Flatiron This Summer

“One of Tokyo’s oldest and most venerable soba shops is heading to New York City this summer.Centuries-old Japanese buckwheat noodle restaurant Sarashina Horii — helmed by ninth-generation soba maker and owner Yoshinori Horii — will open at 45 East 20th St., near Park Avenue South in Flatiron this July. The menu will include more than a dozen noodle dishes, both hot and cold, as well as appetizers and other entrees.

Sarashina Horii is known specifically for its white noodles made using only the core of buckwheat seeds. The restaurant dates back to 1789, and its soba was once deemed fit to serve the Japanese Imperial Household. The restaurant also made an appearance in the late Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations show in Tokyo, where the food media icon calls the noodles “perfectly chewy.””

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Chelsea Market Lands a Promising New Pop-Up Vendor

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“A new pop-up space in Chelsea Market will highlight Ethiopian fast casual this summer. The NYC-based culinary training nonprofit Hot Bread Kitchen has a new pop-up space in Chelsea Market that will feature rotating menus from members and alums of its culinary incubator, which is based in East Harlem. First up is Gorsha, a fast-casual Ethiopian restaurant from Hiyaw Gebreyohannes. There is another location in DC’s Union Market, but here, the restaurant will have specials specific to Chelsea Market. There will be build-your-own bowls for around $13 with proteins like berbere chicken and braised lamb. It’s open now from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and will run until October 31.”

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Chicago’s Sputnik Coffee Boldly Grows in Ways No Roaster Has Grown Before

Sputnik Coffee Roaster Chicago

Since lifting off its launchpad roastery in the Back of the Yards neighborhood of Chicago in 2017, startup Sputnik Coffee Roasters has rapidly carved out a niche for itself with a concise product line and personable service.

In response to rocketing demand, Sputnik has now tripled its capacity with a new 15-kilo, IMF roaster and upgraded its packaging from hand-stamped craft bags to printed bags.

Starting with smaller and lower-priced retail bags of its one core blend, Sputnik’s growth also depends on the sales work of co-founder Vova Kagan. And with the recent shift from hand-stamped craft bags to printed bags, the company also adjusted its labeling to provide info in multiple different languages, reaching directly out to more people in the communities it serves.

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Starbucks begins mobile ordering rollout in Beijing and Shanghai

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“Starbucks said it has begun rolling out its Starbucks Now mobile ordering platform to 300 select stores in Beijing and Shanghai and will expand the service throughout China over the next year.

Starbucks Now, available for Starbucks Rewards members through the company’s mobile app in China, allows customers to order their food and beverages ahead of time and pick them up in store.

“Starbucks Now represents a significant opportunity for Starbucks China to drive new, innovative customer experiences,” Belinda Wong, chief executive officer of Starbucks China said in a company release. “This builds on the latest of several digital initiatives in China, including Starbucks Delivers and locally relevant gifting and e-commerce experiences.”

Customers can use Starbucks Now to find a local store based on the mobile app’s GPS location, order food and customized beverages and make payment, with the order ready to pick up when they arrive at the location.”

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Innovative Filipino Dishes Come to the Lower East Side


“The flavors of the Philippines are interpreted inventively in the hands of Jappy Afzelius, a Filipino executive chef who worked at high-end kitchens in France, Italy and New York. Starters, called pica pica, include pinsit fritos or pork dumplings, fried vegetable spring rolls called lumpia, and kale laing sautéed with shrimp paste and replacing taro leaves with kale. Mr. Afzelius adds Filipino ingredients to a Caesar salad; uses French-cut chicken breasts in his chicken adobo with turmeric soy sauce; includes salmon in sinigang, a typical tamarind soup; and serves traditional Filipino milkfish belly called bangus, fried with chayote and quinoa. His halo-halo dessert uses coconut sorbet in place of shaved ice. Not only does the menu expand your Filipino vocabulary, but you may also note that the name of the restaurant is a play on the Spanish word chisme, or gossip. The intimate room has a tropical feel, a copper bar and a chef’s table with eight seats facing the open kitchen. Philippe Segura, the beverage director, selected the wines and sakes. The owners, Stephen Young and Reggie Aguinaldo, have Filipino roots.”

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McDonald’s Spent $50 Million on TV Advertising in April

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“McDonald’s easily led all companies in TV ad spend last month for the second time in 2019, spending $50 million to promote its new any size $1 soft drink limited time offer, and mix and match 2 for $5 deal to customers.

The Illinois-based chain last topped the list in February when it introduced bacon as a new topping on its signature burgers. McDonald’s was pressed by analysts last week on its first quarter earnings call about when it would also delve into the growing plant-based food trend, which rival Burger King has tapped into with Impossible Foods. CEO Steve Easterbrook said McDonald’s is currently weighing additional complexities of launching its own product, while also assessing the sustainability of the consumer trend.

“Our menu teams are clearly paying close attention to it,” said Easterbrook. “They are discussing this amongst each other and with some of the options that are out there. So maybe more to come, but nothing much to say about it in the moment.”

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