Wonderbag doing wonders worldwide

Sarah Collins, founder of the Wonderbag. Picture: Nick Ferreira

Sarah Collins, founder of the Wonderbag. Picture: Nick Ferreira

Published Oct 25, 2018


South Africa - The Wonderbag has over the years, not only influenced the way we cook at home and on the go, but it has been a major aid in disadvantaged households that don’t have access to electricity.

The heavily insulated bag allows you to slow-cook food without using electricity, functioning like a slow-cooker – cooking food for up to 12 hours.


After its recent listing with Time, Sarah Collins said it had been a great honour to receive this level of recognition. 

“It has been so exciting to be named alongside other business giants like Amazon and Apple. I also felt incredibly proud to represent South Africa on this global list.”

She said ten years ago, the Wonderbag product was born out of a practical desire to continue cooking during a bout of load shedding. 

“And because women in Africa spend most of their time and money cooking, I wanted to find an alternative that would economically empower them and their children and drew on the inspiration of an age-old method of cooking. The inspiration for this simple but revolutionary product stemmed from my grandmother, who used a box and two cushions to cook food,” said Collins.

“The Wonderbag business has grown significantly since my ‘light bulb moment’ in 2008 and it’s now an internationally distributed product. My intuition has always been that the Wonderbag was going to be a global game changer as was the Wonder box in the 70s in South Africa.”


She said over the past decade, she had adopted a fluid approach to growing her business and actively tried to identify opportunities that also bridged different communities and cultures.


“My aim is to instigate and enable culturally relevant philanthropic change in the world and this is supported by an evolving and adaptable business model. 

"This circular business model as well as the Wonderbag, in its current form and different users, and challenges it solves, has made it a globally renowned business. It’s wonderful to see how the world has embraced the Wonderbag, because of its environmental attributes and particularly its social contributions. 

"For every bag sold, a contribution is made to the Wonderbag Foundation to help put more bags into the hands of those who live in poverty,” said Collins.

“The story of the Wonderbag has caught the imagination of the world, at a time when people want to be part of a global solution. Currently, the Wonderbag is sold and distributed in South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Reunion Islands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. 

“When I started the company I was pretty much a one-man band. After many years of blood, sweat and tears though, I am proud to say that the Wonderbag goes everywhere – from the kitchens of suburbia in the States to the kitchens of rural Africa, with more than 1 000 000 bags having been sold worldwide and we will not stop until there is one in every kitchen across the planet." 

All the staff at their South African operation are local and they have a factory in Tongaat. 

“Most of our staff that work in the factory come from the area. I have always endeavoured to keep the Wonderbag operation to remain as proudly South African as possible.

“A common question that is asked to measure our company’s growth is how many staff there are. However, we don’t believe in counting the number of staff as a means of measuring our company’s growth. 

"Instead we believe in measuring the number of women’s lives that have changed as a direct result of the Wonderbag. As it stands, we have within our Wonderbag World family over 20 000 Wonderpreneurs selling and promoting the Wonderbag, but there are millions of women and communities whose lives have improved thanks to this simple but ingenious product." 


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