Beyond Beauty: The Opportunities and Challenges of Cosmetically Imperfect Produce



Through the USDA-funded “Beyond Beauty” initiative, JoAnne Berkenkamp at Tomorrow’s Table and The Real Food Challenge explored the potential to develop commercial markets for cosmetically imperfect fruits and vegetables – in particular, collegiate foodservice markets.  Our analysis was aimed at clarifying how different players in the supply chain view imperfect produce and triangulating among them to identify the “sweet spots” (and specific products) where imperfects could potentially work for all players. Our Minnesota-focused research included in-depth analysis with fresh-market fruit and vegetable farmers, fresh-cut processors, produce distributors, three major foodservice management companies, and lessons from Minnesota’s foodbank community.
The “Beyond Beauty” series includes a summary of findings and reports on other parts of the supply chain outlined below.  A webinar focused on the results of research with produce growers is also available at

Report No. 1: Survey Results from Minnesota Produce Growers

Report No. 2: Interview findings with Minnesota Produce Growers (with Terry Nennich)

Report No. 3: Fresh-cut Processing and Foodservice Distribution

Report No. 4: Hunger Relief Report (with Michael Meehan)

Report No. 5: Collegiate Food Service Report