Big-hearted Lancaster student entrepreneur makes ambitious 250,000 meals pledge
A Lancaster university student who set up the world’s first "wonky bread" box subscription service during the third UK lockdown has set himself a target of donating 250,000 meals to food charities by Christmas.
James Eid (20), launched his green tech start-up business Earth & Wheat back in March and the aim was to ‘"rescue" and distribute fresh bread, which would otherwise have been binned at the point of production due to its odd size or unattractive appearance.
James, a fourth-generation baker, started rescuing bread at his family’s bakery, Signature Flatbreads, with an aim to reduce food waste and has so far donated 50,000 meals and saved over 100 tonnes of bread in just five months.
His Earth & Wheat boxes are packed with a mixed selection of ultra-fresh "wonky" crumpets, pancakes, tortillas, pittas, focaccias, flatbreads and naan breads. Customers can purchase Earth & Wheat bread boxes online and help fight food waste, while also rescuing food for charities.
It is believed Foodbank use rose by a third in the UK during the past 12 months as the Covid-19 pandemic left more people without the money to buy basic necessities according to food charities.
Now James, who is studying business at Lancaster University, has set himself an even more ambitious target of donating a quarter of a million meals to charity by Christmas time.
James, who is originally from Hertfordshire, said: “Food waste makes up a large proportion of greenhouse gas emissions and contributes significantly to the deterioration of our environment. My vision for Earth & Wheat is to reduce unnecessary food waste at the point of production and end western food poverty, which means supporting local communities when times are tough.
“So many people have been forced to use food banks recently because of the impact that Covid-19 has had on their lives. More than a year since the pandemic started, and so many people are still really struggling to put food on the table, and I believe Earth & Wheat can make a difference.
“We’ve donated the equivalent of 50,000 meals so far, but we have only just started - which is why I’ve set ourselves an ambitious target of donating 250,000 meals to food charities by Christmas time.”
As well as rescuing bread from the family bakery, James, has also been actively onboarding independent bakeries around the UK to expand the Earth & Wheat rescue range for customers. “The aim is to have food producers reduce their waste in the most sustainable way possible,” said James. “Around 15.8 per cent of food is wasted at the point of production, something no other company is fighting at scale.”
Whilst managing his emerging green-tech start-up brand, James has also just completed his second year studying business at Lancaster University in a year once again massively disrupted by the impact of the pandemic.
James added: “It’s certainly been a busy year so far! Juggling Earth & Wheat with my university exams, as well as working at the family business, means I haven’t stopped, but I’m thoroughly enjoying the journey.”