Earth & Wheat is the world’s first ‘wonky bread’ subscription service, launched by university student James Eid in March 2021. Eid is also a fourth-generation baker at family-owned business Signature Flatbreads.
Using his access to the established bakery, Eid’s mission is to reduce food waste at the production source before it even reaches the shop floor.
By redistributing surplus bread from Signature Flatbreads, the 20-year-old entrepreneur has built up a strong customer base of subscribers – or ‘wonky warriors’ as they are known – with over 10,000 orders processed in 12 weeks.
To date, the green-tech brand has ‘rescued’ more than 40 tonnes of surplus goodies – like fresh ‘wonky’ crumpets, pancakes, tortillas, pittas, focaccias, flatbreads and naan breads – that would have otherwise been binned due to size, appearance or overproduction.
And for every box purchased, the startup donates a meal to food charities in the UK.
“It’s wonky bread, without wonky practices,” said Eid.
Win:win for the planet, bottom lines and bellies
He believes the business is ready for the next stage of its growth plan – to connect more UK bakeries directly with customers looking to reduce food waste.
“It had always been the plan that once Earth & Wheat had an established customer base, we would push on and onboard other bakeries around the UK and I’m happy to say we’re now at this exciting stage.
“We’re looking to partner with environmentally-conscious bakeries who are interested in reducing their food waste and turning that loss into profit.”
The company has invested in software with integrated logistics to streamline a more efficient method in rescuing surplus bread from bakeries across the UK.
“We want to reduce, and one day eliminate, unnecessary food waste at the point of production,” added Eid.
“That has been our goal from the very start, and now partnering with more bakeries, providing our solution, is the next step in Earth & Wheat’s journey.”
Like all businesses that produce food, bakeries have a legal and moral responsibility to dispose of food waste correctly. Bakeries must only use authorised waste carriers and many reportedly do not have a stock management system in place to reduce food waste.
“One of the biggest concerns for bakeries is food waste, and the figures we see are eyewatering. If food waste were an emitter, it would be the third largest country after the USA and China,” said Eid.
“Waste is typically a loss – a loss to our planet, and a loss to the pockets of hard-working bakers.
“Earth & Wheat provides a solution, and changes the way we value food – what was once a loss can become a win for our planet, our society and the bottom-line for our bakery partners.
The invisible waste
According to Eid, 16% of food waste is at the point of production.
“The initiative battles food waste in the first stages of the supply chain, before it even reaches the shops and the home. It’s this invisible waste that Earth & Wheat fights – and we’re the only ones doing it at scale.
“The Earth & Wheat community is growing from strength to strength, rescuing several tonnes of perfectly wonky ultra-fresh bread from going into landfill every day because we believe no good food should go to waste.”
Eid believes his online platform offers bakeries a practical solution for reducing food waste, which will also improve their bottom line.
“Earth & Wheat is striving to reduce food waste in this country and by onboarding new bakeries to rescue their waste we can make a real difference – distributing bread that would otherwise been thrown away. Our solution is profitable for our partners, and a far better option for the environment.”
Customers can subscribe to Earth & Wheat boxes on a weekly, fortnightly, every three weeks, or monthly for less than £7.00 per week, including free express fresh delivery.