It’s something you don’t normally see on display at the grocery store: Bruised apples, tiny lemons, and oddly shaped potatoes. However, local Hy-Vee stores are now putting these imperfect products front-and-center.

“There’s nothing wrong with the produce, it just isn’t as pretty as the other ones,” said Josh Connour. Connour is the Perishables Manager at Rock Island’s 18th Avenue Hy-Vee. His store has been running the ‘Misfits’ program for a few months now. The program gives shoppers a discount on cosmetically-challenged fruits and vegetables.

These so-called “ugly” foods would traditionally go unsold, thanks to the grocery industry’s size and shape standards. 

“It’s not rotten,” said Connour. “It might have an imperfection and that gets thrown away, when there’s perfectly good fruit in there people can use.”

That very thing happens all the time; so much so that it’s become a national issue. According to the USDA, Americans waste up to 40% of our entire food supply. That’s not just throwing away food we buy; a lot of food that doesn’t get bought at the grocery store instead goes to the landfill.

Shoppers like Tammy Warner are happy Hy-Vee is working to solve the problem.

“I was looking at the bananas because they’re cheaper,” said Warner. “It just goes to waste otherwise if it’s not perfect. It gets us a better price.”

Misfit produce is now available in more than 200 Hy-Vee grocery stores across the Midwest.