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Oddbox fruit and vegetable box


Oddbox fruit and vegetable boxes

Food waste is a major issue. Around a third of food grown across the world is wasted – and it's one of our planet's biggest contributors to greenhouse emissions.

In the UK alone, over three million tonnes of fruit and veg are discarded before they even leave the farm. The reason? UK supermarkets have come to accept only perfect-looking fruit and veg – and we, as consumers, now expect a certain uniformity too. Cucumbers and chillies must be straight, apples and pears can't be too small, and tomatoes must be perfectly round and perfectly red.

Nature has other ideas though, and fruit and vegetables come in all shapes and sizes. This means that a huge quantity of produce that's fresh and delicious – but to us might look a little 'odd' – gets rejected. And growing food takes energy, water and time – so when produce is rejected, it's not just the food that goes to waste.

Oddbox was founded to tackle this problem. The company works directly with farmers to rescue supermarket-rejected produce and deliver it to people who don't really care if their cucumbers are a bit bendy – but do care about the planet.

Oddbox produce closeup

This rescue mission is having a massive impact. So far, Oddbox has saved 28,383 tonnes of fruit and veg from going to waste – that's enough to feed 61,701 people for a whole year. They have also saved 2,965 million litres of water from being wasted, and avoided 30,292 tonnes of CO2 emissions.

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

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

What's in the box?

We were sent a medium fruit and veg box to review, which contained eight varieties of vegetables and four types of fruit.

On opening the box were pleased to see there was minimal packaging. Where necessary, paper bags had been used to contain loose fruits and vegetables; the only plastic bag used was to keep the rocket fresh. Boxes can be left out on the next delivery day for Oddbox to collect and recycle.  

The quantity of produce was generous. Inside the box we found:

5 red onions

2 large baking potatoes

1 cauliflower

1 butternut squash

1 kohlrabi

2 pak choi

1 large bag of rocket

3 large tomatoes

7 pears

6 kiwis

A bag of plums

And a pineapple!

Now let's talk about the quality. Well, we really couldn't fault it! It was actually quite shocking to think that this produce had been rejected by supermarkets – not only was there absolutely nothing wrong with it, it was all in perfect condition.

In the Oddbox box
Oddbox plums and tomatoes

Along with the vegetables, an information sheet was provided to explain why each item had been rejected. This made interesting reading. Some items were deemed 'too small' – including the butternut squash, which was in fact exactly the right size to make a curry to feed four people.

The tomatoes, pears and kiwis were labelled 'too odd'. The kiwis weren't the perfect egg-shaped fruits we're used to – but they were still in perfect condition, and tasted delicious. As for the tomatoes and pears… well they just looked like tomatoes and pears.

What we really liked was that there was a good choice of veg with a long shelf life, along with a few items that needed to be kept in the fridge and eaten relatively quickly. The information sheet explained which items needed eating when – which made meal planning easier.

We were easily able to eat up the rocket, pak choi and cauliflower while they were still fresh. And in fact the butternut squash and plums were still in tip-top condition after two weeks!

One lovely aspect of having a veg box subscription is that you're never quite sure what you're going to get. As a family we do eat a wide range of vegetables – but the kohlrabi was new for us, and we did need to do an online search to find out how to cook it (stir fried, with spring onions, garlic, ginger, and the pak choi).

Being introduced to new ingredients can inspire you to try new dishes – the kohlrabi was a big hit. The information sheet included a recipe, and there's a website – or scan the QR code on the sheet – for more recipes and inspiration.

We are very impressed with Oddbox. At £16.99 for the medium fruit and veg box, we think it's excellent value. There's a good range of boxes available, including veg-only and fruit-only options, with prices starting at £10.99 – so there's a box to suit all situations, from singles and couples to large families.

But most importantly it's great quality produce. And helping to rescue fruit and vegetables that would otherwise have ended up in landfill is one more small and easy action we can take to reduce our family's carbon footprint.

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