Today, I’m going to be reviewing the Misfits Market company and talking about whether this brand is worth the hype. This review is unsponsored–I’m not getting paid for my opinion. So, first, let’s talk about why I wanted to look at this brand.
Back in January, I shared with you what it was like for my husband and me to have a vegetarian weekend. Since then, Ginger Snaps and I have embarked on a journey to bring us closer to a plant-based, whole-food lifestyle. Though we don’t identify as vegetarian—we’ll eat meat at other people’s houses, and we’re still using any meat products that are already in our pantry or freezer—we have stopped buying meat and the vast majority of our meals are vegetarian.
We initially chose this lifestyle for health reasons. However, the more we research plant-based meal ideas and vegetarian lifestyle tips, the more we learn about some of the serious environmental implications of the traditional meat-centric eating culture. In fact, every day I become a little more concerned that I’ve brought my daughter into a world that’s soon going to suffer global catastrophe due to human waste and consumption.
That’s why I was so excited to see an advertisement for Misfits Boxes coming on my Facebook feed the other day. So far, I’ve had two misfits boxes delivered. Today, I’m going to discuss what was in each box, whether or not it was worth the cost, and what I like and don’t like about misfits market.
What is Misfits Market?
Misfits market is a produce delivery service that takes fresh produce that wouldn’t otherwise make it to grocery stores and sells it. The goal of misfits market, according to their website, is to reduce chronic food waste. Here’s how it works:
- You subscribe to one of their boxes
- On the day of your choosing, a week’s worth of fresh produce is delivered to your door
Their website gets into where these foods come from, but basically, misfit produce is produce that’s either funny shaped, larger or smaller than normal, a different color than grocery stores usually accept, or that was accidentally purchased and needs to be offloaded somewhere quickly so that drivers can pick up their next delivery.
What’s in your Misfits Box?
Every misfit box is a little different, and one of my biggest complaints—which I’ll get into later—is that you don’t know what’s coming in your box until it arrives on your doorstep. There is a frequently updated page on their website which talks about what’s currently offered in some boxes, but you never know which of those foods you’ll actually be getting. In our case, we purchased the Mischief Box, which says that it brings 10-12lbs and should serve 2 people for a week. Here’s what we received each week:
Week One Misfits Box
- 5 Red Onions
- 6 Navel Oranges
- 3 Red Beets
- 3 Peaches
- 1 Pint Grape Tomatoes
- 1 Bunch Scallions
- 2 Green Bell Peppers
- 5 Small Red Potatoes
- 3 Lemons
- 1 Small Container of Baby Greens
Week Two Misfits Box
- 1 Head Romaine Lettuce
- 3 Pears
- 3 Navel Oranges
- 1 Small Spaghetti Squash
- 1 Small Eggplant
- 1 Leek
- 1 Bunch Dandelion Greens
- 1 Cucumber
- 2 Green Peppers
- 2 Summer Squashes
- 1 Head of Cabbage
- 3 Red Plums
What I’ve loved so far is that we’ve received a good mix of fruits and vegetables each week. The food has, for the most part, been very usable. A couple of items have looked a little funny but been very good when you cut them up and throw them in food. However, my husband complained that one of the peaches the first week was terribly bruised and tasted like it was on the verge of going bad (though he still ate it), and this week one of the plums was thrown away right when we pulled it out of the box because it was so bruised it was falling apart. I suspect that in both cases, the bruising was not so bad when the fruit was put in the box: I suspect the issue had to do with how the food was packaged.
Misfits Market Packaging
The packaging has been my biggest complaint about the Misfits boxes, which is a shame because I totally get why it’s packaged the way it is. Misfits is making its brand around environmental change, and it’s packaging is no different: they use eco-friendly packaging and even have a section on their website dedicated to how to recycle or compost all of your packaging.
Unfortunately, some of their packaging doesn’t hold up in transit, which is problematic when it comes to fruits and vegetables. The ice packs that they pack in the boxes with their produce get moist, which wouldn’t normally be a problem, but since most of the fruit and vegetables are left loose in the box, they end up getting wet as well. The badly bruised fruit looks to me like it got pressed against something wet, and unfortunately the skin on peaches and plums is so malleable that it’s problematic. We also had to peel the outer leaves off our lettuce and throw them away for the same reason.
Meanwhile, the baby greens the first week and the dandelion greens the second week were both put in these small boxes to separate them from the rest of the food. Both boxes were completely soaked and crushed by the time the food arrived to our house, and the greens were everywhere.
Misfits Market Cost Breakdown
Misfits boxes market themselves as saving you money on produce. According to the website, the Mischief Box is supposed to have $35-$40 worth of grocery store or farmers market produce, but it costs $19-$23.75 (depending on whether you buy one week at a time or subscribe and save). However, for me, there’s another $4.50 in shipping that I have to pay. Assuming that’s across the board, you’re actually looking at $23.50-$28.50 for your produce. If you really are getting $35-$40 worth of produce, that’s still a pretty good deal.
So, does that actually hold up? I took a look at what those same fruits and vegetables would have cost at my local grocery store. Let’s break it down.
Week 1 Produce Costs
It’s a little hard to get an exact price on items at my local grocery store because so many items are priced per pound rather than per item. However, I did my best to get as close as possible.
- 5 Red Onions – $1.86
- 6 Navel Oranges – $4.74
- 3 Red Beets – $1.79
- 3 Peaches – $3.99
- 1 Pint Grape Tomatoes – $3.49
- 1 Bunch Scallions – $2.29
- 2 Green Bell Peppers – $4.98
- 5 Small Red Potatoes – $2.58
- 3 Lemons – $3.00
- 1 Small Container of Baby Greens $3.29
Total Value: $32.01
Direct Savings: $8.51 subscribe & save / $3.51 one-time purchase
However, after taking a look at direct savings, I took a look at one other factor: which of these fruits and veggies did I actually use? My husband and I aren’t particularly picky, but we both hate beets, so we gave those away. Meanwhile, one of the lemons went bad before we got to it (because a family of two does not need three lemons in their life in a 1-week period). Other than those items, we used everything (except the onions—there’s a few of those left, but they WILL get used, so I’m counting them as used).
Still, that’s $2.79 worth of produce that we would not have bought on our own and that we didn’t end up using. So a revised calculation looks more like:
Total Used Value: $29.22
Direct Savings: $5.72 subscribe & save / $0.72 one-time purchase
Week 2 Produce Costs
Once again, I got as close as I could to what these items would have cost in the store. Dandelion greens were particularly hard because my local Hannaford doesn’t sell those, so I used online pricing to compare instead.
- 1 Head Romaine Lettuce – $3.49
- 3 Pears – $4.47
- 3 Navel Oranges – $2.37
- 1 Small Spaghetti Squash – $5.96
- 1 Small Eggplant – $5.98
- 1 Leek – $4.99
- 1 Bunch Dandelion Greens – $4.50
- 1 Cucumber – $2.49
- 2 Green Peppers – $4.98
- 2 Summer Squashes – $1.49
- 1 Head of Cabbage – $3.99
- 3 Red Plums – $1.50
Total Value: $46.21
Direct Savings: $22.71 / $17.71
But what about usable produce? I already gave away the fact that we had to throw away a plum. We also hate eggplant, and while I’m searching for a recipe that will make it taste like pie, outside of Misfits Market, we certainly wouldn’t have shelled out $6.00 for a food we don’t like. So that really puts us at…
Total Usable Value: $39.73
Direct Savings: $16.23 / $11.23
One Other Factor
There’s one more important factor to consider when talking price, and that’s the fact that Misfits Market only uses organic produce. That means that when I was doing my price comparisons, I was also looking at organic produce. However, Ginger Snaps and I don’t usually buy organic. For us, being able to buy more fruits and vegetables per week—and therefore less packaged foods that are oversaturated with chemicals anyway—is worth the few extra chemicals we might get in our produce.
As we all know, organic foods cost significantly more than non-organic food—sometimes twice as much. If you don’t normally buy organic for your family, adding that factor in may mean you’re not actually saving when buying through Misfits Market. Additionally, Misfits Market has said on their website that they’re considering sourcing non-organic foods in the future, but they haven’t indicated if that change will mean lower prices for consumers or more food in boxes. If it doesn’t mean either of those things, then when they make that change, the boxes won’t spell a savings for anyone using them.
Pros and Cons
So, let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons of Misfits Boxes, in general.
- Tons of variety
- Challenges you to use different fruits and vegetables every week—can get you out of a rut
- Mix of fruits and vegetables is the right amount for the household for a week
- Cheaper than buying the same organic groceries at your local grocery store
- Packaging doesn’t hold up in transit
- There’s no way to opt out of foods you don’t like
- Not knowing what’s coming in your box makes meal planning a challenge
- If you don’t usually buy organic, it’s not actually any cheaper than buying in store
Bottom Line: To Buy or Not To Buy
I’m all for supporting innovative businesses that are doing good things for the environment. When it comes to that, Misfits Boxes get an A+. Ginger Snaps and I very much believe that you vote with your money, and for that reason, I’ll continue investing in Misfits Boxes.
However, based on some of the very real problems with the Misfits Box business model, I’m not going to say that it’s the right choice for every family. Specifically, if your family is picky, I wouldn’t recommend it. Ginger Snaps and I consider ourselves very food-friendly: we’ll eat almost anything. But both weeks, we were still landed with items we don’t like (beets and eggplant), and we were also landed with items we used because we had them but we didn’t really want (lemons and leeks).
If you are interested in trying out Misfits Market, use the code COOKWME-TE6LFT at checkout to receive 25% off your first box.
Three Ways Misfits Market Could Improve
I’m still excited about Misfits Market, and I hope they iron out their weak points so that they can become the leader in produce distribution that I think they should be. With that end goal in mind, here are the top three things I think Mistfits Boxes could do to change themselves from a maybe buy to a must buy.
1.) Let You Opt Out of Foods
It makes sense that Misftis Boxes can’t let you choose what’s going into your box every week. Their business model means that they never know where they’re sourcing their foods from or what they’ll have large enough quantities of. But if the point of misfits market is to reduce food waste, then they can’t be sending people food that their families literally won’t eat.
Letting users opt out of foods they won’t eat would solve this problem. Even if they only let each family opt out of 5 items at a time (to prevent people from “opting out” of everything but what they wanted for the week), it would prevent us from receiving our boxes and grimacing because there’s something in there that we need to find a way to offload that week.
2.) Send a List of Items with Your Shipment Receipt
One of the other big complaints about the misfits box is that you don’t know what you’re getting until it arrives on your doorstep. Since some of the products are bruised or otherwise need to be used up quickly, this makes meal planning next to impossible.
One way to fix this? Send a list of every item in the box along with the “Your order is on its way” email they send out. Granted, this would take some legwork on the part of whomever is building the boxes, but it would make a HUGE difference on the end of the receiver.
3.) Figure Out Shipping Problems
I’m all for using organic shipping products, and most of it is great. But the boxes that greens are delivered in fall apart and make a mess, and there needs to be a way to separate all the produce from the cooler packs so that the food isn’t getting damaged in transit.