Once a week, households in London can open up a brown, recyclable box delivered overnight to their door.

Some days there might be lettuce, potatoes, swede, or strawberries inside. Other days the contents might be entirely different.

However, all the produce has one thing in common - it is ‘unwanted’ by traditional supermarkets.

Oddbox, one of the UK’s leading sustainable fruit and veg delivery schemes, was founded in Balham, South West London in 2016.

The brainchild of co-founders Deepak Ravindran and Emilie Vanpoperinghe, the idea came about when the pair were on holiday in Portugal.

Wandsworth Times: Oddbox produce is considered 'unwanted' by traditional suppliersOddbox produce is considered 'unwanted' by traditional suppliers

After eating “ugly” but “incredible” tasting food from local market stalls they devised an idea to distribute ‘odd’ food at home too.

After returning to London, the couple used the Balham Community Church as a packaging warehouse and their car to deliver produce their first customers.

The company grew steadily until demand exploded in the pandemic. In the first lockdown Oddbox received 10 times as many orders, and the website had to be taken down for three weeks until get the supply chain could catch up.

Five years on and their service has expanded to hundreds of postcodes across London and the South East of England – with bigger plans to reach all over the UK.

Mr Ravindranthe hopes that ‘odd’ fruit and veg could be key to tackling the climate crisis.

Wandsworth Times: Deepak Ravindranthe, co-founder of OddboxDeepak Ravindranthe, co-founder of Oddbox

“Food waste could be the third biggest contributor of greenhouse gas emissions. If you add up all the resources that go on producing the produce the land, finite resources and labour, we shouldn’t be wasting anymore food.

“From an individual’s perspective it’s something we can take an action on. It’s not this big, intangible thing. Every little action matters, and people can take small actions by reducing food waste and buying from Oddbox,” he said.

The business model works by taking food that is typically rejected – due to its size, shape, or colour and repackaging it.

Drivers deliver boxes to customers overnight, when traffic is calmer to save on carbon emissions.

Wandsworth Times: The boxes are delivered overnight to doorsteps The boxes are delivered overnight to doorsteps

Much of the fruit and veg sourced from British growers is surplus, which Mr Ravindranthe says allows the company to be “nimble” and “creative”.

“Weather patterns are very uncertain at this point in time, and they are going to be more uncertain.

“On Thursday we can decide what goes in on Monday and offer home for fruit and veg. We have ongoing relationships with over 100 growers, which offers huge variety,” he explained.

You can find out more about Oddbox here.