Baker saves 1.2m surplus pancakes from being thrown away in less than 3 years

By William Dodds

- Last updated on GMT

James Eid founded the surplus bread box business in March 2021. Credit: Earth & Wheat
James Eid founded the surplus bread box business in March 2021. Credit: Earth & Wheat

Related tags Food waste

Baker James Eid has helped save more than one million surplus pancakes from being thrown away through business Earth & Wheat.

Eid established Earth & Wheat in March 2021 with the launch of his ‘wonky bread box’ in a bid to reduce food waste.

A fourth-generation baker, Eid started recovering discarded baked goods from his family's bakery in Dunstable, Hertfordshire, when he saw how much bread it was forced to throw away each day. In the first six weeks of the business' existence, he sold 10,000 boxes and has partnered with several other independent bakeries since to collect their waste bread.

His ‘variety wonky bread box’ includes pancakes, tortilla wraps, crumpets, focaccia, folded flatbreads, pitta and naans, with Eid donating a meal to food distribution charities for every box sold. The Earth & Wheat brand also offers rescued fruit and vegetables in combination boxes with bread.

Ahead of Pancake Day on Tuesday 13 February 2024, Earth & Wheat revealed it had rescued 1,173,592 single pancakes between 2021 and 2023, and donated a further 35,448 to food charities. This adds up to 1.2m pancakes that have been saved from going into the bin.

According to Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP), around 16% of all UK food waste occurs at the point it is produced and much is binned because it does not meet size, shape or colour standards set by retailers.

'Total madness to throw away edible food'

Graduating from Lancaster University last summer, Eid said that Earth & Wheat has grown from a simple mission to reduce food waste and "make a difference​".

It is total madness to throw away perfectly good food just because the tortilla wrap is not a perfect circle, or a crumpet has too many holes – or not enough – in it when it still tastes exactly the same whatever it looks like​," he continued.

More than one in of every 10 pieces of all food is thrown away at the point it is produced in the supply chain because it doesn’t look perfectly right, and this needs to stop because no good food should go to waste.

“The fact we’ve now saved over one million pancakes as we head into Pancake Day is hugely satisfying and is a huge milestone. I must thank all our customers for continuing to support our rescue mission​.”

Earth & Wheat has also saved more than 600 tonnes of bread from going to waste since 2021, over 60 tonnes of vegetables and 600 tonnes of food overall, while it has donated 300,000 meals to UK food charities.

The brand recently joined The King’s Coronation Food Project’s cause​ and has donated 2,894 meals to FareShare.

Related topics People & Skills Bakery

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