Yup, I'm officially wonky; well, in a food way, I am (Unless I've had one too many G&T's, that is!), and it seems to be that lots more of us are going wonky these days to help keep your food costs lower and also to help prevent unnecessary food waste.
Indeed it's becoming big business and has moved on dramatically since Morrisons first introduced their Wonky lines in 2015, offering weirdly shaped or slightly ugly veggies and fruit in their stores at a reduced cost. Now everyone seems to be getting in on the idea, with Tesco launching their 'Perfectly Imperfect' range of fruits and veggies and selling well over 50 million packs since launching the service in 2016!
It's great for farmers and consumers, as it often means that the supermarkets will take fruit and vegetables off the farmer's hands, even if they aren't pristine. In contrast, in the past, the supermarkets would refuse the produce, and it would either or sent to landfill or be used as animal feed, which was a massive financial loss to the farmer and a waste of perfectly edible food! It's also great for producers who find themselves with excess produce due to larger crops than expected and not enough orders to use it all up, as it gives them another sale route they can use to clear through their stocks.
Other entrepreneurs have taken up the only challenge by launching their own wonky products as well. Companies such as Oddbox have been delivering boxes of excess fruit and vegetables since 2016, starting in London and now delivering to much of the UK. We have reviewed this service in the past, and you can read the review HERE or grab £10 off your first box using our referral LINK.
Then you have Earth & Wheat, giving a different spin to wonky by launching a wonky bread box subscription service, offering its customers a box of bread themed products that are either not quite perfect or produced in too greater of a number, and the boxes contain products such as crumpets, wraps, rolls, flatbreads, pancakes, pittas and more. They also now offer wonky biscuit boxes and are soon to launch a wonky fruit and veg box as well!
You can read more on Earth & Wheat HERE.
During the first Covid lockdown, lots of smaller, local farms and producers also began offering their excess produce in a fruit and veg box style to their community to help them to keep afloat during a difficult trading period and to help supply those who were struggling to obtain food due to restrictions and also this not wanting to mingle with others in supermarkets, during a pandemic. Some of these companies are still trading in the same way, having retained loyal customers who were grateful for their help and are now continuing to support their local food producers.
Companies such as the 'Wonki Collective' are now launching. This company will be offering wonky pantry and grocery products, snacks and treats, as well as fruit and veg from all manner of food producers, and is currently at a pre-launch stage, allowing customers to sign up now and receive a £5 Wonki credit to spend on your first Wonki grocery shop (Use the name The Penny Pincher for your £5 credit when asked who told you about them), and be notified when they go live shortly.
You can even get wonky coffee as well now, with the Odd Coffee Company offering surplus coffee beans and pods to the public via its website, reducing food waste and supplying decent coffee, with or without a subscription. You can use our LINK to save £5 off your first order if you want to give them a whirl!
You can even get Wonky relishes, with The Wonky Food Company offering a range of relishes made from wonky fruit and veg, which is available in select stores and via its website.
It's not just companies getting involved in the wonky products; organisations such as The Felix Project have been working with Gleaning Kent, part of the UK Gleaning Network that saves surplus, out-graded uneconomic-to-harvest produce from farms. They engage local communities in harvesting activities. In total, the UK-wide Gleaning Network has rescued over 400 tonnes of fresh produce from waste and donated it to organisations feeding vulnerable people.
Most supermarkets have a wonky style offering; Asda offered a £3.50 Wonky box in the past; although I've struggled to see if this is still available, I will update the post if I can get a definite answer. Lidl offers a £1.50 box of surplus fruit and veg, which inset strictly 'wonky' but is still a food waste prevention scheme worth getting involved in if there is no better reason than to save a few quid!
Many other online retailers are offering a wonky veg box type product range, often only supplying local customers, so it's with having a Google to see if there is a supplier local to you that you can support if it's of interest.
The wonky supermarket products are going to be the best option for anyone looking for wholesome food at a bargain price. The companies offering veg boxes and only themed products can't compete with the supermarket pricing. They don't have the supermarket buying power and have higher overheads, such as shipping and labour charges. However, they are still a great way; if you have the extra cash to reduce food wastage and enjoy delicious food, knowing that what you are eating isn't in landfill, and the food producers can still stay financially stable...
If you know of a wonky type product I have mentioned, please let me know!