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  • Writer's pictureEveline Vouillemin

Oddbox - Fighting food waste one box at a time

The company saving 'wonky' produce from ending up in landfill, just because they don’t look ‘perfect’.

Food waste is one of our planet's biggest contributors to greenhouse emissions. It is currently estimated that 6.2 million tonnes of food is wasted by the food industry in the UK each year while nearly 14 million people live in food poverty.

Oddbox, a subscription service that delivers fresh, seasonal fruit and veg straight to your home, was launched in 2016 by Deepak and Emilie Vanpoperinghe to prevent food being thrown away and to find a home for produce that didn't quite meet supermarkets' aesthetic requirements - too large, too small, too odd.

The company works directly with farmers to rescue produce which has been rejected by supermarkets and deliver it to people who don't care if their food is a bit 'odd' but do care about the planet.

"We came across the idea when we were traveling in Portugal," says Deepak. "We saw a really ugly-looking tomato and got to thinking. We couldn't understand why it was so hard to get your hands on odd-shaped food produce in the UK – especially when it tasted so delicious!".

Oddbox prioritises UK growers to reduce emissions further and if fruit and veg is not sourced from the UK – which is sometimes necessary to keep boxes varied throughout the year – it is imported without being flown in.

In addition, at the end of each week, Oddbox donates any leftover produce to FareShare, City Harvest and Kind – charities that are working to support vulnerable people and relieve food poverty.

I received my first Oddbox (Large Veg Box) back in October 2020 and absolutely fell in love. I have received a box every fortnight since then and always look forward to my delivery.

For my first box and every subsequent delivery, the vegetables have always been in perfect condition, exactly the same as if you had chosen them in the supermarket, they always taste delicious and I am always impressed with the quantity.

Signing up to Oddbox is a simple process. Firstly, check if they deliver to your area. Then, decide what you would like to be sent and how often. You can choose fruit, vegetables or a selection of both and have them delivered each week or fortnightly. You then decide on the size of the box - small, medium or large - and if you don’t like something, let Oddbox know and they’ll never include it in your box.

Your Oddbox is delivered between 7pm and 7am in order to reduce carbon emissions, so sometimes you wake up to it on your doorstep. My box is left either on my doorstep or behind my bins and I have never had any problems. If it has been raining, then my box has been wrapped in a waterproof bag so the contents do not get wet.

If you want to skip a week or cancel altogether, it is really easy to do that on the account section of the Oddbox website. You are also able to skip deliveries or pause them for several months if necessary.

One of my favourite aspects of having a veg box subscription is that the contents of the box is always an exciting surprise. You can check what has been rescued in advance if you want to but I prefer waiting to receive the box.

As a household we do eat a wide range of vegetables but subscribing to Oddbox has introduced us to so many new vegetables that we would never have thought to buy before. This has pushed us to experiment with some really interesting recipes and flavours.

I love that you receive a letter (printed on 100% recycled paper) with each box that explains where the vegetables have come from and why they have been rejected - too big, too small, too odd or too many. It brings the mission of Oddbox to life for me and reminds me of the positive impact that rescuing this veg is having.

The letter also includes a delicious recipe idea which is particularly useful when it comes to a vegetable that you have never cooked with before or never even heard of. Jerusalem artichokes have been a favourite discovery of mine!

There is also a QR code which you can scan to give you even more ideas for cooking or you can head to the recipe section of Oddbox's website. Here are some wonderful recipes that I would recommend:

While it is slightly more expensive than going to your local supermarket for vegetables, I am more than happy to pay the extra because I absolutely love Oddbox's ethos, it is hugely satisfying knowing that rescuing the veg in each box is contributing to stopping food waste and I love the surprise of not knowing what I will receive each delivery. Also, it is a huge plus that my box is delivered straight to my door, at no additional cost.

Here’s the breakdown of prices:

Veg Boxes:

  • Small Veg Box (ideal for individuals/couples): £11.99 per box

  • Medium Veg Box (ideal for 3): £14.49

  • Large Veg Box (ideal for 4-5): £16.49

Fruit & Veg Boxes:

  • X-Small Fruit & Veg Box: £11.49 per box

  • Small Fruit & Veg Box (ideal for individuals/couples): £14.49

  • Medium Fruit & Veg Box (ideal for 3): £17.49

  • Large Fruit & Veg Box (ideal for 4-5): £22.49

By Eveline Vouillemin ©

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