Imperfect Foods aims for sustainability-minded drinkers with wine partnership

Imperfect Foods and its parent owner Misfits Market have started selling a range of wines from wineries that employ sustainable practices, the company said.

In a new partnership with e-commerce platform Drinks, the eco-friendly online grocer will include red, white, rosé, and sparkling wine offerings, many made with low intervention winemaking, the company said.

Through its “Rescued Wine” program, Imperfect Foods is also selling wine that was not given prime real estate at stores due to a scuffed or lightly marked label. These will be available in flash sales, similar to other launches from the upcycled foods producer.

Drinks has handled the wine sales of Misfits Market since early 2022, which established a relationship between the alcohol retailer and the sustainable grocery delivery platform. Misfits Market acquired Imperfect Foods in 2022.

According to the company’s vice president of strategy Ian Swainson, Imperfect Foods previously had difficulty selling wine, despite it being the food and beverage item that received the most requests from its consumers. He attributed this to a series of state regulatory hurdles that make selling the beverages difficult, and noted how the Drinks platform aided the company in selling the beverages.

“It’s nothing like selling an ugly apple,” Swainson said in the press release. “[Drinks] helped us align our entry to the alcohol category with our mission by offering wines with sustainable practices, and we are excited to further support our mission by offering the same experience to Imperfect Foods customers.”

Despite being the alcohol category with the broadest amount of sellers — with roughly 11,000 wineries as of 2021 according to Statista data — laws have made the sale of wine a challenge to retailers. This is slowly changing on a state-by-state basis as consumers demand more accessibility but will take time, said Zac Brandenberg, the co-founder and CEO of Drinks, in an interview with Food Dive.

“It’s been eighty years since Prohibition, and you still can’t get the same drinks in every state no matter how hard you try,” Brandenberg said.

The new platform will allow wineries to grow brand loyalty among sustainability-minded consumers as it can now meet the demand for sustainably grown or unsold wine that was not previously fulfilled, the Drinks executive said.

“They can get the same strong value proposition they already know, misshapen or imperfect foods, and extend it into wine, because this is a product of buying every day or every week, and now they don’t have to go elsewhere,” Brandenberg said.

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