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The Wonki Collective

The Wonki Collective is a young UK company, on a mission to end food supply chain waste across the UK and beyond.   The company is working with manufacturers to identify and redistribute surplus ingredients that would otherwise never make it into products bound for the supermarket shelf – that’s a staggering 1.6m tonnes of ingredients a year!  The Wonki Collective is building a B2B matchmaking software platform enabling UK food and drink manufacturers to track food loss in their supply chain, with the objective of reducing food waste and turning it into profit.

The Wonki Collective was founded in 2022 by Alina Sartogo and Dini McGrath, after meeting on an Antler Accelerator programme, with an initial mission to reduce unnecessary food waste and to provide consumers with high-quality, healthy groceries at an affordable price.   At the time Alina was a commercial lawyer, with an interest in sustainability and Dini was working in the Gin sector as a global brand manager, where she was seeing at first hand the wasted food & drink ingredients, due to inefficient supply chains.  The first service trialled by the company was a B2C direct-to-customer grocery service, delivering “wonky” and surplus foods, direct from the supply chain, to consumers at affordable prices.  The service was initially trialled in Wandsworth, London, with a view to roll out further across the capital.

It was whilst on the The Greenhouse accelerator programme, run by Undaunted, in 2023, that the Wonki team decided to pivot their business model and focus on a B2B model.  The team realised that there was a much bigger food surplus issue within the B2B side of the food & drink supply chain and they had an idea on how they could make a difference!

The team are developing a software platform which includes functionality for food & drink manufacturers to map and identify surplus ingredients within their supply chain and a B2B matchmaking algorithm to find the best buyers for these surplus ingredients.  The platform seamlessly integrates with the manufacturers ERP systems, allowing them to forecast any surplus ingredients and also put a value on the particular problem areas.  The B2B matchmaking algorithm is then used to find the best buyers for the surplus, from a wide network of UK manufacturers, avoiding waste and getting a return on the surplus.  For the buyers, they are able to receive reliably high quality ingredients from accredited suppliers, with full traceability and discounts of up to 70-80%.

The team have focussed on the UK market and have gone on to make great progress in a short space of time, undertaking a pilot with Nestle to prove the concept. They have rescued and redistributed over 60 tonnes of ingredients, saving over 350 tonnes of carbon emissions  and built up their supplier/buyer network to over 150 companies.  They have now moved beyond pilot stage and are the UK’s leading redistributor of surplus ingredients within the supply chain.

The Wonki Collective realise that they cannot solve the huge food manufacturing surplus challenge on their own and are working with other innovative companies to maximise the value of the ingredients in the supply chain.   If surplus ingredients are not sold through The Wonki Collective platform,  then the company works with partners, to maximise the value of the surplus.   One such partner is Sugarich, who recover surplus materials from food manufacturers, food distributors and food retailers and turn them into nutritionally balanced, high performance animal feed ingredients that are environmentally friendly, cost effective and increase productivity.

The Wonki Collective is already having a huge impact and have saved 60 tonnes of food going to waste, just in the last couple of months (as of March 2024).  Here are a few other Wonki stats for the last couple of months, again as of March 2024:

  • By reducing food waste it is expected that the cost of products could be reduced by up to 10%;
  • Over 350 tonnes of carbon emissions have been saved;
  • Buyers have received over £250k in savings;
  • Sellers have regained over £100k in products that would have otherwise gone to landfill or Anaerobic Digestion (AD);
  • Currently have over 200 tonnes of ingredients listed with more appearing each day.

The company are currently raising investment to extend their software platform with new functionality, including an on-line marketplace, with the objective to get to a fully digitised circular marketplace.   If you are interested in partnering with or investing in the company please reach out to their founders to learn more!  Here’s a link to their website.

We’re looking forward to seeing how The Wonki Collective progress!

Images courtesy of The Wonki Collective