SUMMIT SPONSOR: Empowering Consumers in the Food Waste Fight

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SUMMIT SPONSOR: Empowering Consumers in the Food Waste Fight

by: Jenna Dowd, Senior Brand Manager, Hellmann's Mayonnaise

June 27, 2024

This is part of our Summit Sponsor Series, which features articles written by sponsors of the ReFED Food Waste Solutions Summit about the food waste work they are doing. All views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of ReFED.


We know that almost half of all food waste in the U.S. happens in people’s homes, and we know that the reason people don’t reuse leftovers is because they feel like they are “boring” or not as delicious the second time around. This is the fundamental insight as to why we developed our “Make Taste, Not Waste” platform. It is why, for the last four years, Hellmann’s has taken advantage of one of the biggest food waste moments of the year—the Big Game—and used it to catalyze consumers to make a change at home with our “Make Taste, Not Waste” message.

Our commercials feature stars ranging from the Mayo Cat to the Fairy Godmayo to celebrate and cement the “Make Taste, Not Waste” message for people across the country. But to deliver tangible impact on one of the largest food waste days of the year, with more than 140K pounds of extra food from the game and official events alone being wasted, we knew we needed to focus consumer attention and give them a clear way to get involved in our mission. This 140K figure doesn’t even factor in the massive watch parties at home, bars, or restaurants, so we decided to tackle the impact of those watch-parties head on—by giving consumers a fun way to get involved without even getting off the couch.

Knowing that the Monday after the Big Game is already known as one of the “sickest” days of the year (with an estimated 16+ million people calling in “sick” from work), we declared Monday, February 12 Sick of Food Waste Day. Through this, we invited everyone, especially those staying at home, to work at fighting food waste by opening the fridge. Hellmann’s is sick—of food waste. We challenged anyone celebrating this holiday with us to repurpose their leftovers and share the moment on TikTok or Instagram Reels. One lucky participant even won a trip to New Orleans for Big Game weekend next year.

To ensure we were fighting food waste ourselves, Hellmann’s partnered with Food Recovery Network to rescue food from the Player’s Tailgate—one of the Big Game’s signature events each year. Together, we rescued nearly 4,000 pounds of surplus food and donated it to The Just One Project, a local organization working to end the cycle of hunger and provide food to people in southern Nevada.

Sick of Food Waste Day was anchored in our belief that empowering consumers to take tangible action at home is fundamental to fighting food waste. We know it can be effective because, in 2021, we conducted one of the longest and largest behavioral studies into household food waste in Canada. We discovered that adopting just one ‘Use-Up Day’ per week—making a meal using ingredients already in the fridge and kitchen—can reduce the amount of food a household throws away by a third. When we replicated this study in the U.S., food waste in households participating in the study saw a 46% reduction. This speaks to the key challenges of behavior change: people are often overwhelmed and confused about how to make a positive difference. No one ever sets out with the intention of throwing away good food.

That’s why we look to make fighting food waste convenient enough so that food never makes it to a landfill. Sick of Food Waste Day built on past Hellmann’s initiatives like the Fridge Night app, which launched in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. to encourage, educate, and incentivize families to use up their leftover food on a designated “Use-Up Day” using recipes from Hellmann’s. It’s why we piloted the Smart Jar in the U.K., which changes color when a fridge isn’t cold enough, driven by the finding that consumers are seeing food spoil up to three days faster in fridges running at above 40° Fahrenheit.

Too often, food waste is an unintended outcome from people not having the time or energy to cook after a busy day, or not having the confidence or skill to make a meal out of the ingredients they find in their fridges. For Hellmann’s, taking on the issue of food waste is a natural evolution, building off of our belief in the power of great taste to change behavior and the historic role mayonnaise plays in elevating and transforming food. After all, when food tastes great, less of it goes to waste. We are committed to helping achieve UN Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 of reducing food waste by 50% by 2030. To find out more and follow our continued work, check out www.hellmanns.com/us/en/food-waste.html.

ReFED is a national nonprofit working to end food loss and waste across the food system by advancing data-driven solutions to the problem. ReFED leverages data and insights to highlight supply chain inefficiencies and economic opportunities; mobilizes and connects people to take targeted action; and catalyzes capital to spur innovation and scale high-impact initiatives. ReFED’s goal is a sustainable, resilient, and inclusive food system that optimizes environmental resources, minimizes climate impacts, and makes the best use of the food we grow.

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