Saving rejected produce with Flawsome

Saving rejected produce with Flawsome

Food – 03.08.22

Flawsome! is on a mission to fight food waste by turning surplus and cosmetically imperfect produce into cold-pressed juices. We chatted with co-founder Karina Sudenyte to find out more about this company and its products that are available at Spinneys

Karen D'souza
Karen D'souza

“One third of all farmed food goes to waste worldwide, and fruit and vegetables are discarded more than any other type of food,” says Karina Sudenyte, Flawsome! co-founder. What’s more alarming is the reason why most of the food is rejected: because it isn’t cosmetically appealing. This, even though it may be perfectly fine for human consumption.

Both Karina and her partner Maciek Kapcryzk grew up helping out at their grandmothers’ orchards and vegetable plots. In those days no one paid any attention to a fruit or vegetable’s outward appearance, “It was more about appreciating and treasuring what we harvested from the land,” Karina recalls.

A routine trip to a supermarket in 2015 while they were living in London, alerted them to the reality that all the fruit and vegetables looked alike and everything was wrapped in plastic. So they began looking into the matter and started visiting farms and speaking to growers. What they learnt was that most fruit was discarded simply for not meeting cosmetic specifications of shape, colour and size.

“We couldn’t wrap our heads around why any fruit or vegetable could be needlessly wasted. It really inspired us to experiment with our nans’ recipes, to start saving produce and transforming them into our juices,” explains Karina.

Flawsome! was born out of their passion to save surplus and wonky fruit. The company was initially set up in Wales before operations moved to Warsaw in Poland where it was rebranded. They buy directly from growers whose farms are located within a 50km radius of Flawsome!’s manufacturing unit.

“We work with family owned businesses and pay farmers above market value for their surplus stock, which means no extra natural resources are required for preparing our juices,” says Karina. If it wasn’t for Flawsome!, most of those farmers would have no choice but to throw away misshapen fruit.

All Flawsome!’s products are sugar-, preservative- and artificial-flavour free. In keeping with their policy to be an environmentally friendly company, all their juices are packaged in fully recyclable glass bottles and aluminium cans. Spinneys stocks five flavours of Flawsome!’s cold-pressed juices – Sweet & Sour Apple; Apple & Strawberry; Apple & Superberry; Orange & Apple; and Orange – as well as lightly sparkling juice drinks that are made up of 60 per cent pressed fruit mixed with 40 per cent sparkling water. “It’s an alternative option for people who would like to have a little less of the natural sugar present in our cold-pressed juices,” says Karina. These will be available in three flavours – Sweet & Sour Apple, Apple & Sour Cherry; and Apple & Rhubarb.

The company has already saved over 1,000 tonnes of surplus and wonky fruit. Besides doing its bit to minimise food wastage, Flawsome! also has a five-year target to donate one million drinks to charities in the UK. It is also involved in the Erasmus Programme, which is a student exchange programme that gives college students a change to gain international work experience.

“So far we’ve had 20 students work with us and many of them have gone on to very good jobs after graduating,” explains Karina. It is no surprise that Karina and Maciek made it to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2020.