Ever wondered why the fruit and veg at the supermarket always look the same? Only the best will cut it in stores. Anything with a funny shape, size or small blemish too often gets disregarded and left to waste. So, meet the business that is saving the fallen heroes, decreasing food waste and providing households with affordable fresh grocery solutions.
The Wonky Box provides a subscription of imperfect or surplus fruit and vegetables from local suppliers and is Angus and Katie’s solution for food waste and pricey fresh produce. The service started in Wellington, but The Wonky Box is excited to share its arrival in Auckland households on October 6.
The Box currently has over 3,000 customers or ‘Wonkers’ in the capital. Being from the windy city themselves, Angus and Katie have found it difficult to let go of the operation they have spent a year building. However, it has been left in the good hands of their friend Conor who has been with them since day one.
Operations in Auckland have meant meeting with new growers, particularly in Pukekohe and parts of Northland.
“It’s been educational as we aren’t too familiar with the climate and growing conditions this far north, but we’re certainly learning.”
The end goal is to be operating Auckland-wide, but for now, the service is only available to the Western suburbs. Customers can check their postcode on the Wonky Box website homepage, and if they aren’t delivering in a particular area yet, they can sign up for a waitlist for updates.
Having worked seasonal jobs last summer, Angus and Katie experienced first-hand the struggles many kiwi growers face and figured there must be a solution to help farmers and consumers. Food waste is the business’ key concern.
“I believe it’s a much bigger problem than perceived. It’s easier to measure food waste in supermarkets or households with consumers but much harder to quantify in the primary production phase – such as on our local farms. Since COVID, it is estimated that over 40 percent of foods produced don’t even leave the farm. Zespri alone had to throw out 2.5 million trays of kiwifruit in one year. It’s important to recognise that a lot of this food could be going to better use – especially given the rising costs of living and the high number of households in New Zealand suffering from food insecurity,” said Angus Simms, Co-Founder.
Wonky Box is also starting to look at servicing offices, launching recipes and food waste tips and tricks for households. The business is also looking at ways to make a more customisable box. But long-term goals include being a nationwide service that allows them to make an impact in households everywhere.
“We’d also lit to partner with other brands who are keen to make an impact in reducing waste, especially as we have access to growers who may find themselves with certain surplus over the seasons.”