After meeting while studying at the University of South Wales, founders Maciek Kacprzyk and Karina Sudenyte quickly went into business - and a relationship - with one another. Their firm combats the growing issue of food waste by turning ‘wonky‘ fruit into juice.
Many supermarkets ‘reject’ fruit and vegetables for general sale on purely aesthetic grounds – if they’re considered to be too far removed from the ‘ideal’ shape and colour, they will simply be discarded. With the Flawsome! team estimating that 3.7 trillion apples alone are wasted globally - and a further third of all food wasted due to aesthetic standard or supply chain inefficiencies - this is no small problem.
The impact of these issues isn’t simply restricted to the environment either, and has a further impact on the wealth and wellbeing of the people who grow and sell this produce. After a trip to a local farm brought this home to the team, they took the decision to ensure they pay farmers 20 per cent above the market price for fruit and vegetables that would otherwise be discarded on an aesthetics basis.
Shocked by the level of waste produced by single-use plastics in the industry, they also took the firm decision to use only glass and metal can packaging, with their infinitely recyclable credentials, for their growing range of products.
To date, Flawsome! has saved over 22.9m pieces of fruit from going to waste, while avoiding more than 1.6m plastic bottles - 47.89 tonnes of plastic - in the process. It’s on a three-year mission to save six thousand tonnes of wonky and surplus fruit, while donating one million drinks to charities around the UK.
It’s a task that’s paying dividends in every way. Like almost every business, the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic last year posed new challenges as many of Flawsome’s food service and catering customers were forced to close indefinitely overnight. Undeterred by such a challenge, the team pivoted their business model towards the retail sector with instant success.
With a rapidly expanding team in Cardiff and across Europe, the business has recently secured high profile listings including Sainsbury’s, Shell retail forecourts in Poland and a launch in the Middle Eastern markets with multinational supermarket chain Spinneys.
The latter arrived following a visit as part of the Welsh Government’s delegation to the prominent food and drink trade event Gulfood in Dubai.
Karina says: “Despite uncertainty arising from the Covid-19 pandemic, securing overseas business is a fantastic boost of confidence for us. We are thankful to the Welsh Government for their support and appreciate the benefits they can bring to us as a company as we meet potential new buyers and distributors.”
To top things off, Maciek and Karina’s ability to make good things happen hasn’t just been restricted to the business - in 2018 they welcomed twin baby girls into their growing family.
As Maciek says: “Fairer for farmers. Saving the rejected. Better for the planet. At Flawsome! we are on a mission to make other people as passionate about sustainable craft drinks as we are!”
Their mission truly embodies St David’s spirit of doing good things in Wales and beyond, because we care for each other, our communities, our land and our world.