Lancaster student’s start-up launches Christmas wonky veg box for charities

A university student is launching a special Christmas ‘wonky veg’ box - and for every box sold will donate FOUR meals to food charities to help the most vulnerable people in society in light of the cost of living crisis.
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James Eid founded the world’s first ‘wonky bread’ subscription business called Earth & Wheat in March 2021 as part of his mission to reduce food waste and help save the planet.

James, 21, who is in final year studying business at Lancaster University, started rescuing wonky bread from bakeries at family-run business Signature Flatbreads before expanding the range to include wonky veg, which is saved from selected farms around the UK.

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This food would have otherwise been binned due to its odd shape or size because of strict shop standards.

James Eid with a box of his wonky veg.James Eid with a box of his wonky veg.
James Eid with a box of his wonky veg.

Now in light of the cost of living crisis in the UK, Eid’s food waste-fighting brand is rolling out a one-off purchase bumper Christmas Veg Box full of traditional vegetables to help the most vulnerable at this time of year.

The free meals will be donated to families and children, the homeless, the elderly, domestic abuse survivors, refugees, people on low incomes, people struggling with mental health and addiction, and more.

The Earth & Wheat box, which is priced at £19.99 including next day delivery, will include large potatoes, parsnips, red cabbage, carrots, broccoli, leeks, onions, garlic, herbs – and, of course, festive favourite sprouts.

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Customers need to order by noon on December 19 with deliveries taking place before Friday December 23. Existing Earth & Wheat customers can swap their regular Veg Box for the Christmas Veg Box using their online account.

One of the festive wonky veg boxes.One of the festive wonky veg boxes.
One of the festive wonky veg boxes.

James said: “The most vulnerable people in our society are going to be those who suffer most this Christmas as the cost-of-living crisis bites as what tends to happen is people tend to pull back on donating to charities because they are forced to economise themselves.

“At Earth & Wheat, our ethos is all about helping people who are less fortunate than ourselves, as well as reducing food waste to help the environment.

"That is why we’ve decided to launch a one-off Christmas Veg Box. Our wonky veg may look odd in shape or size and may not appear perfect but they still taste exactly the same, and our next day ultra-fresh delivery means it will arrive even fresher as it will have come straight from a UK farm.

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"Earth & Wheat will also donate four meals to food distribution charities for every box sold so we hope this can make a big difference to a lot of people this Christmas.”

Potatoes are the most wasted food in the UK according to Waste and Resources Action Programme and James says Earth & Wheat’s mission is to ensure no edible food ends up in the bin with the brand set to launch more wonky food ranges soon.

He said: “Food waste is one of the biggest contributors of greenhouse gas emissions and Earth & Wheat wants to avoid unwanted vegetable produce being ploughed back into fields or sent to landfill because we believe no good food should go to waste.

“Everyone can take action and help rescue misshapen veg and prevent it from going to waste by subscribing and joining the fight against food waste with Earth & Wheat.”

Earth & Wheat has so far rescued more than 500 tonnes of wonky food and donated 50,000 meals (around 20 tonnes) to London charities and schools.

The start-up also won a prestigious award at the bakery industry’s version of the Oscars, The Bakery Industry Awards, for the Sustainability Initiative of the Year.