Login

How Imperfect Foods Handles Huge Growth With Auth0

Meeting the challenges of COVID-19 and food waste, one user at a time

About

We deliver groceries on a mission to eliminate food waste and build a better food system for everyone.

Industry

Food/Beverage

Region

AMER

Imperfect Foods exists because of a crisis. The United States leads the world in food waste. Over $161 billion worth of food is winding up in landfills each year, which hurts farmers and contributes to pollution. Even as perfectly good food goes waste, people are going hungry; the United States has more food-insecure households than other comparably rich nations.

The founders of Imperfect Foods wanted to address the disconnect between food waste and hungry families, so they founded a company that delivers affordable boxes of “imperfect groceries" that would otherwise go to waste. Their idea quickly captured the popular imagination, and the company has raised $119.1 million in investment funding since its inception in 2015.

Then came another crisis: the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Alex Thornton, head of engineering at Imperfect Foods, the pandemic created a “tsunami of demand” among customers who wanted groceries without having to go to the supermarket. Luckily, Imperfect Foods had an identity and access management (IAM) partner that could help the company respond to the challenge of hyperspeed scaling during a global pandemic.

“We had sign-ups at levels that we’ve never seen before.”

Alex ThorntonHead of Engineering

Partnering for Identity to Focus on Mission

Thornton describes his career as sitting “at the intersection of sustainability and technology.” Applying that mantra to Imperfect Foods, the company decided early on to outsource IAM to Auth0. They began on the developer plan, then upgraded to the enterprise plan for an increased SLA.

The company primarily uses Auth0 to handle registration and password databases for its end users. While Imperfect Foods’ current authentication flow is straightforward, they’re excited to explore social logins to reduce sign-up friction and increase conversions.

Thornton says security was the primary concern that made the team consider Auth0. In particular, the team is happy not to have to store passwords on its own servers. "Security is top of mind for everyone these days, so we wanted to partner with Auth0 to protect our customers' information."

“Security is top of mind for everyone these days, so we wanted to partner with Auth0 to protect our customers' information.”

Alex ThorntonHead of Engineering

Avoiding Headaches, Saving Months of Developer Time

Thornton also cites Auth0’s developer-friendly documentation as a major advantage. “The documents are tremendous,” he says. “It’s clear the care Auth0 puts into it to make it easy. With other vendors, it sometimes takes a while to get started. But with Auth0, it’s much easier to follow the documentation.”

Shifting to Auth0’s Identity-as-a-Sevice (IDaaS) has saved Imperfect Foods “at least a couple of engineer months” compared to building their own solution, according to Thornton. He admits it’s tough to estimate, though, because “there are a lot of monsters lurking” in identity projects that can make them more time-consuming than you might think.

Thankfully, the team has been able to avoid those monsters with Auth0. “I can’t think of an issue we’ve had in the year I’ve been here,” Thornton says. And with the time saved, Imperfect Foods has been able to focus on their core operations, like improving inventory management practices and better tracking deliveries.

“It’s clear the care Auth0 puts into it to make it easy. With other vendors, it sometimes takes a while to get started. But with Auth0, it’s much easier to follow the documentation.”

Alex ThorntonHead of Engineering

Five Months to Double Monthly Active Users

Imperfect Foods was already in the midst of a rapid customer expansion when the pandemic struck. Then, users more than doubled between February and June. Says Thornton, “We had sign-ups at levels that we’ve never seen before.”

At present, Imperfect Foods has 400,000 monthly active users with more growth planned by the end of the year. To support this growth, the company is also expanding its supplier base and staff, and it’s employing Auth0 in that effort. Imperfect Foods uses Universal Login to manage roles and permissions for internal users, ensuring that security is built into their systems at every level.

Rapid scaling during a global crisis could be an IAM nightmare for some companies, but Thornton isn’t worried. “We don’t really think about it, which is what you want from your authentication system,” he says. “Auth0 just works. It does what it says it’s going to do, and it does it well.”

“Auth0 just works. It does what it says it’s going to do, and it does it well.”

Alex ThorntonHead of Engineering

About Auth0

Auth0, a product unit within Okta, takes a modern approach to identity and enables organizations to provide secure access to any application, for any user. The Auth0 Identity Platform is highly customizable, and is as simple as development teams want, and as flexible as they need. Safeguarding billions of login transactions each month, Auth0 delivers convenience, privacy, and security so customers can focus on innovation. For more information, visit https://auth0.com.

9K+

Enterprise customers

70+

Countries with Auth0

24/7

Support coverage

Get started →

Signing up is free. Experience Auth0 for yourself and see how we help companies of all sizes make their organizations safer.