FoodCycler Fact-Checks "Shonky" Choice Magazine Article

According to Australia's Choice Magazine, FoodCycler has qualified as one of the Shonky Awards winners.

Shonky Definition: / (ˈʃɒŋkɪ) / adjective -kier or -kiest. Australian and NZ informal of dubious integrity or legality; unreliable; unsound.

To view the original article, click here.

You may be wondering: why are we sharing that we’ve won this “award”? Well, we believe that this article highlights the misinformation being shared about our product by those that don’t take the time to understand why it exists and the benefits it provides.

We'd like to address some of the concerns brought up by the article and offer up the facts to anyone who is considering implementing a food waste solution in their home. Misinformation like that published by Choice can often set back genuine efforts to make a positive impact. We’d like to offer our perspective.

“The Shonky Award for... being a $2000 compost bin.”

Let’s start with this (highly misleading) claim.

  • The FoodCycler retails for $499 in Australia. It is also not a compost bin (more about that later!)

The FoodCycler (like any appliance) does have maintenance costs – including electricity.

  • Electricity: The FoodCycler uses 0.8kWh per cycle on average, which means that a typical household that runs the FoodCycler 3-5 times per week (average of 4x per week) would use ~166kWh of power per year. Based on an average cost of power in Australia of $0.25/kWh, we can calculate annual power cost of ~$42. This is less than half the $86 that Choice claims.

  • Filters: The EcoFilters need to be changed every 3-6 months on average, depending on how often the FoodCycler is run. If we assume 3 replacements annually, filters would cost $120 per year – half the cost claimed by Choice. Further, many users run the FoodCycler in a garage or basement where odours aren’t a problem, allowing them to change their filters less often.

Fact: The FoodCycler costs $500 and would cost around $160 per year to maintain. Over 5 years, this amounts to $1300. We’re not sure how Choice reached their conclusions, and we’d encourage them to be more transparent in future about how they calculate things.

"Just use a plastic container with a lid, commonly known as a 'compost bin'. Starting at about $45, it'll save you $2000 over five years compared with the FoodCycler. […] Don't have a garden to put the compost in? How about a worm farm or a bokashi bucket? Both cost much less and will give you the same result in the end.”

There is some truth to this claim! Buying a backyard composter is a great solution for dealing with food waste. To those already composting, we encourage you to keep doing so as it’s a very cost-effective way to divert your food waste from landfill.

Similarly, for those using bokashi or worm bins that feel that these methods are good solutions to their household food waste, we encourage you to keep using those systems!

However, we must acknowledge the many challenges with these more traditional waste recycling methods. Choice actually published an article going over these challenges: view article here.

Composters, worm bins, and Bokashi systems have been around for decades: so why are so many households still putting their food waste in the garbage?

· Don’t have space

· Don’t have time

· Worried about pests

· Worried about smells

The data from the world’s landfills are proof that these types of solutions are not achieving widespread diversion – other solutions are needed.

The FoodCycler is a premium food waste diversion solution (we never claim to be the cheapest) for those that want to divert their food waste in a way that is clean, easy, and convenient.

Many people don’t have time to turn compost, and few want a worm bin in their kitchen. If their food waste is going to landfill because of that, we’d like them to consider the FoodCycler.

Fact: FoodCycler is not the cheapest solution – but it is one of many available solutions that supports total diversion of waste from landfill. FoodCycler also allows people without yard space, time or physical ability the option of recycling their food waste at home.

"People without access to a garden for composting would be better off asking their local council for food waste bags."

The reality is that many people don’t have access to local government food waste diversion programs – unfortunately, this Choice claim falls into the “wishful thinking” category.

In fact, many municipalities cannot economically offer these programs – particularly those in rural or remote areas with smaller populations and larger distances between collection stops.

FoodCycler fully supports government-led food waste diversion programs - in fact, we are partnering with over 17 Canadian municipalities to deliver such programs using the FoodCycler. These municipalities have found that their residents are excited about using premium solutions such as the FoodCycler to divert their food waste.

Fact: It’s wishful thinking and misleading to make it seem that everybody has access to municipal organic waste programs.

“It actually does what it says it does – it will reduce your food waste volume by 80%.”

In their video posted with their review, the Choice spokesperson points out that the FoodCycler does indeed perform as claimed.

Choice then goes on to say: “Announcing the winners, Choice chief executive Alan Kirkland said businesses could have avoided getting a Shonky if they hadn’t promised things they couldn’t deliver.”

The major theme of the 2021 Shonkys is companies making big promises that they can’t deliver — “whether that be healthy food, environmental benefits, advocating for you in tough times or keeping you cool on a hot day,” Kirkland said.

We think Choice may deserve a Shonky of their own in this regard – the reporting is highly misleading, and the article contradicts itself in several places.

We would encourage anyone considering the FoodCycler to read the reviews on and People who use the FoodCycler love it! The FoodCycler is an easy and convenient way to divert food waste from the landfill.

Wishful thinking around council programs that don’t exist and telling everybody to compost or use a worm bin isn’t going to result in increased diversion. We encourage everybody to find a way that works for them to divert food waste: there are many options available, and we hope that if your food waste goes into the garbage right now you’ll consider the FoodCycler, a composter, or something else!

Fact: Shonky Reporting.

19 views0 comments