In 2015, UK households wasted 7.3 million tonnes of food. The following year, the number rose to 10 million tonnes. The average UK family spends nearly £500 a year on food they don’t eat, while more than four million families regularly go a whole day without eating a single piece of fruit. We throw away four million apples every single day. Overall, up to 50 per cent of the food we produce ends up as waste.
When Maciek Kacprzyk and Karina Sudenyte came across these figures in 2016, they were shocked. ‘We wanted to know what happened to those four million apples,’ says Kacprzyk. ‘I had been with Karina for three years at that point and we wanted to work together and help save the planet at the same time. My grandmother had an orchard and she made juice from the apples and pears and other produce. So why couldn’t Karina and I make bottled fresh juices from the fruit and vegetables that everyone else was rejecting?’
Kacprzyk and Sudenyte, who came from eastern Europe to study in Wales, raised £2,500 via crowdfunding to start the company in 2016. It was known as Get Wonky, but when supermarkets started to encourage people to buy “wonky fruit”, the pair changed the name to Flawsome!.
The drinks all come in glass bottles and sustainable catering packs, contain no additives and don’t have to be stored in the fridge. ‘The biggest challenge is the supply chain,’ says Kacprzyk. ‘Initially we thought we could go to the supermarkets and pick up their waste, but it was too complicated and not so carbon efficient. So we went directly to farmers and offered to pay 70 per cent of market price for the food they couldn’t sell or that was rejected as being too “ugly”.’ Sudenyte says that the movement against food waste is building all the time, and she explains that part of Flawsome!’s aim is to educate children. ‘Many of the kids we talk to in schools already know about food waste, and we talk about buying food that is grown naturally, even if it is wonky.’
Since launching Flawsome!, Kacprzyk and Sudenyte have received funding from a few different sources and have won several business awards, including Young Entrepreneur of the Year at the Great British Entrepreneur Awards in 2017 (they are nominated again for 2018). Their five-year plan is impressive: over the next three years they want to save 3,000 tonnes of waste, rising to 7,000 tonnes over five years. ‘We are looking at exporting our juices to Europe in 2019,’ says Sudenyte. ‘Ultimately we want to help farmers on a global scale.’