Imperfect Foods is a grocery delivery company providing lower-cost items that may have aesthetic shortcomings and would typically be discarded. Despite its laudable anti-waste goals, Imperfect Foods has received significant pushback from the sustainability community. Critics are concerned that the for-profit organization is diluting its goal of reducing food waste by incentivizing overproduction. The director of public affairs for the company must soon deliver a communications strategy to Imperfect Foods’ executive team that addresses critics’ claims that the company is harming the environment by commoditizing “ugly” foods and working closely with industrialized farms that can profit from overproduction.
The case presents a robust opportunity for students to debate whether or not a private company can focus on purpose and profit simultaneously.