A student who set up the UK’s first ‘wonky bread’ online delivery platform in March has ‘rescued’ three tonnes of bread after just four weeks.
James Eid, 20, from Radlett, has made it his mission to reduce food waste and last month successfully launched Earth & Wheat – a weekly or fortnightly subscription service.
He aims to distribute freshly baked bread products which would have otherwise been binned due to ‘ugly’ appearance, ‘odd’ size or simply because of overproduction.
The Earth & Wheat bread box does not include ‘sliced bread’ but a random mix of crumpets, tortillas, pittas, focaccia and pancakes. Customers can subscribe to earthandwheat.com on a weekly or fortnightly basis for £6.99, including delivery.
When he is not studying business at Lancaster University, James works at family-owned business, Signature Flatbreads, based in Dunstable, Bedfordshire. His plan is to rescue ‘wonky bread’ from his own family’s bakeries and then link up with independent bakeries around the UK to fight food waste.
James has also pledged that for every box ordered, the equivalent of a meal’s worth of bread – 450 grams – will be donated to food charities to fight food poverty in the UK, with over 3,000 sent so far.
James said: “The amount of waste we see is really eye watering and it’s all to do with the standards that shops have based on what can and can’t be sold, if it’s not perfectly round for example like a tortilla, we have to chuck it away because it doesn’t meet the specifications.
“Bread is a natural product, it is going to vary significantly so it’s all about saving what we can and redistributing it in the most eco-friendly way we can.
Food waste makes up a large proportion of greenhouse gas emissions and contributes significantly to the deterioration of our environment.
“Earth & Wheat’s vision is to ultimately reduce food waste by delivering perfectly fresh wonky bread and helping to save the planet one box at a time. We believe no good food should go to waste!
“Our wonky breads may look unattractive, but they will probably taste fresher than the bread at the shops because it is shipped directly from UK bakeries, from oven to doorstep. Each bread box contains a random and mixed variety suitable for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.
“On the day of the box’s arrival, the fresh bread can be frozen for up to a month, to lock in freshness and help fight food waste. We want to build a sustainable future for the next generation. Earth & Wheat fights food waste at the point of production. We are proud to have fully recyclable, biodegradable and edible boxes. Even the sticky tape we use is paper based – it’s all about the circular economy.”
Sustain UK estimates that 8.4 million people in the UK are living in food poverty with the Covid-19 crisis pushing many families into hardship with some relying on food banks.
James said: “The number of people in need of emergency food parcels hit new levels during the pandemic last year as thousands of individuals either lost their jobs or had their incomes cut. Our mission at Earth & Wheat is to reduce food waste and help our planet. Helping our planet doesn’t just include our environment, it includes society as well, which is why for every box ordered we will continue to match it with a meal to food charities to help fight food poverty.”
Earth & Wheat is James’s second business venture, launched just nine months after setting up his own disposable face mask factory, Signature Masks, to help fight COVID-19.