A new brand of drinks called Wonky will tap into the growing acceptance of misshapen fruit and vegetables, as it aims to become ‘the most sustainable juice brand in Europe’.
Intended for the catering market, Wonky is packaged in 330ml eco-friendly glass bottles and 5 litre boxes, which cuts packaging waste by 60% compared to plastic bottles and reduces its carbon footprint further by not being chilled, the brand said. Each reusable carton box replaces between 15 and 25 plastic bottles or tetra packs, and comes complete with a spout and environmentally friendly cups.
The idea has been developed by students in the UK at the University of South Wales, along with co-founders Karina Sudenyte and Maciek Kacprzyk, with the goal to ‘give wonky fruit a chance’. The concept is to deliver reusable dispensing packs of natural, carbon-neutral juice, which saves unwanted produce from becoming food waste. Each 5 litre box claims to save over 7kg of wonky produce, and the brand will pay 70% of the market price for fruit that would otherwise be discarded.
Each 5 litre carton box replaces between 15 and 25 plastic bottles or tetra packs.
The cold-pressed craft juices can be consumed for up to ten days after opening and are 100% natural, pure and free from powders, oils, infusions, acids or GMOs. They are available in three flavour combinations: strawberry and apple, beetroot and apple, and chokeberry and apple. Each 250ml cup works out at a price of £1, and the 330ml glass bottles will sell with a recommended retail price of £1.35.
Co-founder Karina Sudenyte explained the reasoning behind Wonky and other brands like it. “Often, orchards can’t shift their produce if fruit is the wrong size or shape. We pay as much as 70% of the market price for produce that would be wasted. As a result, we save fruit and help growers,” she said.
The brand will pursue £13,000 on crowdfunding platform Crowdfunder to help get the brand off the ground, with the added ethical promise of donating a proportion of their sales to the children’s charity Barnardo’s and reinvesting all remaining profits in helping to eliminate food waste from the supply chain.
The founders have trialled the product in a variety of catering settings from workplace canteens to universities, working with caterer Baxter Storey and a number of independent caterers across the UK.
The brand is the work of a team of UK students, plus Karina Sudenyte (left) and Maciek Kacprzyk.
”There are three things I absolutely love about Wonky,” said co-founder Maciek Kacprzyk, “the reusable box that reduces waste and provides a long-shelf life, the fact that Wonky saves misshapen and unloved produce, and finally the range of simple yet sublime flavours. Have you ever heard of chokeberry juice? It’s a delicious superfood and it’s high time you tasted it!”
The drinks join a small but growing line of producers who are turning wonky fruit and vegetable into value-added juice. Food retailer Pod launched a fresh range of wonky juices earlier in the year, and in FoodBev magazine in October we spoke to Dash Water about its approach to turning misshapen produce into sparkling water infusions.
According to a survey reported by FoodBev, almost nine in ten grocery retail managers believe that consumers will be willing to buy wonky fruit and vegetables in order to save them from landfill.
That is an opportunity that start-up Wonky is looking to exploit.
Kacprzyk continued: “We need to start saving surplus produce as it is done in France. These fruit and veg are thrown away whilst they could be easily sold in shops.
“However it’s hard to find them in the UK, and therefore we want to give wonky fruit a chance and introduce Wonky drinks to large catering firms such as Baxter Storey, Elior, Sodexo or Compass and later to retail.”
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019