Imperfect Foods

Using Pinterest ads to fight food waste

Imperfect Foods, which finds homes for food “too ugly” for grocery stores, was looking for a way to increase subscribers for their produce boxes. With Pinterest ads, they used a wide range of targeting options and dramatically increased customers—and decreased food waste.

increase in new subscribers
lower cost-per-signup on Pinterest than other channels

Their goal

Acquiring new customers 

Imperfect Foods was founded to combat food waste in the US, where a whopping 20 billion pounds of produce that’s grown goes uneaten every year.1 To build a better, more sustainable food system, Imperfect Foods sends boxes of produce and pantry items to customers who know that you can’t judge an orange by its peel.

By using ads on Pinterest, Imperfect Foods has been able to show Pinners what they stand for and inspire them to sign up for their first box.

Colin Comp, Growth Lead
Imperfect Foods
By working closely with Pinterest, we’ve developed cutting-edge creative strategies and learned how to meet our customers where they are in their daily life. In just three months, we grew spend and conversion volume > 5x quarter over quarter, while keeping acquisition costs well within our target range.

Their solution

Generating awareness, from Pin to table

The first step of Imperfect Foods' strategy was to build up their Pinterest presence with unique, food-related content. Their creative included facts on food waste, recipes for dishes using ingredients found in produce boxes, and even storage tips for fruits and veggies. 

Imperfect Foods also created ads and made them as relevant as possible with Pinterest’s wide range of targeting capabilities. To connect with Pinners who had a high intent to purchase but didn't know what to buy, Imperfect Foods used keyword targeting. They showed ads on search terms that were core to their brand and business, such as "Sustainability," "Meal Planning," and "Healthy Eating," as well as more seasonal, trending keywords. 

Next, through interest targeting, they expanded their reach even further—and unearthed unexpected insights. For example, they discovered that potential customers had interests that weren't as intuitively linked to their brand, such as "Finance.” The company was then able to use those insights to inform their creative direction.

Through their sophisticated targeting strategy, Imperfect Foods gained new customers of all types: actalike targeting helped them attract people similar to existing customers, retargeting helped re-engage people who had previously visited their site, and Pinterest's new zip code targeting let them reach Pinners in specific parts of the US.

Their results

A bumper crop of signups

From just a small amount of spend, Imperfect Foods has seen a 20% increase in new subscribers. In fact, Pinterest has quickly become one of Imperfect Foods' top acquisition channels, at a fraction of the cost. Compared to other channels, the cost-per-signup from Pinterest is 30% less.2 

Jeremy Gurewitz, Head of Growth
Imperfect Foods
Given that our brand is so visual, Pinterest seemed like an incredible opportunity for us. We’ve had sensational growth with a 20% increase in new signups at a 30% lower cost-per-signup than our other channels.

Advertiser tips

  • To get the clearest, big-picture of performance, give your campaigns at least 7 days.

  • Run multiple campaigns with inspiring content that can speak to audiences at different moments along the path to purchase. 

  • Use Pinterest's creative best practices and don’t be afraid to test different creative, targeting options and more. 

  • Since Pinterest is so visual, make sure your creative aligns with your targeting.


 1Feeding America, Fighting Food Waste With Food Rescue, 2018

 2Imperfect Foods data, 2018