Giving wonky fruit a chance: How two young entrepreneurs have turned food waste into a business model
A pair of young entrepreneurs in Cardiff set up a natural juice business in order to tackle what they see as the growing problem of waste and inefficiency in food and drink production.
The aptly named Get Wonky produce a variety of juices that are exclusively made from hand-picked fruit, regardless of its shape or size.
The duo were inspired to start Get Wonky due to the fact that naturally grown fruit is often discarded due to its frequently misshapen nature. Irregularly shaped fruit does not usually conform to the high aesthetic standards food and drink providers set for the products, resulting in large amounts of waste.
The company’s founders, Maciek Kacprzyk, 24, and Karina Sudenyte, 21, both attended the University of South Wales, and say lack of food recycling is a major problem around the world. They feel many consumers care about food waste enough to source their food and drink from a sustainable source.
At present Get Wonky juices are predominantly available as catering options for events but have plans to branch out into retail, with high hopes of seeing their products stocked on supermarket shelves in the near future.
Maciek, a recent law graduate, said: “Get Wonky was born out of a desire to combat the massive problem of food waste in Europe. Recycling waste is one of the biggest challenges of our time, and we want to change that reality.
“And clearly, many people agree. We recently ran a crowd-funding campaign that raised just under £3,000 to help get our stock going, which led to further interest from investors. Orders have started coming in and we’ve been approached by the university and several other organisations to have a more permanent presence with them.”
Karina, an Associate Management student, added: “Often, fruit 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 help reduce fruit waste and help growers.”
“A big consumer trend emerging across Europe is a movement towards better recycling practices and minimising waste. Due to the public interest in these issues, Wales has been a great place for us to start our business, and has afforded us more opportunities than we would have had in Poland or Lithuania.”
Get Wonky has also been supported by Big Ideas Wales, which is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
Maciek and Karina attended the Big Ideas Wales Bootcamp for Business event, where they, along with 50 budding young entrepreneurs, spent a weekend partaking in workshops and tutorials and learning from Big Ideas Wales role models – successful Welsh entrepreneurs who now assist the Welsh Government’s youth entrepreneurship programme to foster the next generation of commercial talent.
Maciek said: “Bootcamp was incredibly valuable to us. We took part in a pitching competition which gave us a lot of confidence in our business idea, and met with real social media and marketing gurus who told us how to get our idea on the map. We’ll be keeping in touch with all our mentors and fellow entrepreneurs from the weekend going forward.”