- Study by Hellmann's and Toronto-based behavioural scientists, BEworks, found that Canadian households saw significant food waste reduction by committing to just one meal per week using ingredients already in their home – a 'Use-Up Day'
- One of the largest behaviour change studies of its kind addressing the issue of household food waste reduction1 - conducted with over 1,000 Canadian families
- Forgetting what food is in the fridge, and lack of inspiration and skill around what to make are among the key drivers of food waste2
TORONTO, April 1, 2021 /CNW/ - As part of its global mission to reduce food waste, Hellmann's commissioned one of the largest and longest behavioural change studies on household food waste to-date to understand the interventions needed to effectively reduce food waste in the home. This Canadian study, conducted in partnership with Toronto-based behavioural science experts BEworks, featured over 1,000 Canadian families and revealed that by simply using a few easy-to-remember tools and methods, such as a 'Use-Up Day' and flexible recipes, participants changed their way of thinking about their left-behind food and reduced their reported food waste by an average of 33 per cent.
Globally, one-third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted3 and 900 million tonnes of food is thrown away every year, with 60 per cent of food waste occurring in the home4. Canada is one of the worst offenders with almost two-thirds of the food thrown away still being edible, costing Canadian households 1,100 dollars every year5. If all households with children across Canada adopted the approach from this study, the amount of food waste saved would be an estimated 250 million kg2 per year.
How the Study Worked:
Over a five-week period, Canadian participants were asked to commit to one 'Use-Up Day' per week, where they would create a meal with soon-to-expire ingredients that might otherwise have been thrown away. In addition, they were asked to use a '3+1 Approach' generated by Hellmann's for the study - a simple and easy mental shortcut for how to make a meal with what they could easily grab and use from their fridges and around their kitchen, combining a base, vegetable or fruit, optional protein and a 'magic touch' such as spices or sauce to bring the dish together and give it flavour. In addition, participants were provided with 'flexipes', flexible recipes with inspiration and ideas for using up commonly wasted ingredients following the 3+1 approach.
"This study took participants on a journey from a mindset of 'what do I want to cook and what ingredients do I need' and supported them to reframe that as 'what food do I already have and what can I make with it', said Christina Bauer-Plank, Global Brand Vice President, Hellmann's.
- Using the tools and methods provided, participants reduced their reported food waste by a third. The Use-Up Days – supported by the 3+1 Approach and Flexipes - helped participants to think differently and flexibly about the food they had, enabling them to see potential in existing ingredients. Three quarters (74%) of participants said they considered using up their food to be 'easy' by following these methods.
- Participating in the study improved consumers' resourcefulness in the kitchen and helped them to save money. In a follow-up survey, 7 in 10 participants (70%) agreed they felt more resourceful in the kitchen and 6 in 10 (61%) felt more confident in the kitchen, as a result of taking part in the study. Additionally, 7 in 10 (71%) reported that they had saved money by participating in the study.
- The action of completing a weekly survey reduced reported food waste. Participants of the study, even those in the control group, became more conscious of the food they wasted, resulting in reduced food waste.
- Eight weeks post-study completion, 8 in 10 participants continued to create a 'Use-Up Meal'. Seven in 10 felt more inspired to use up ingredients they had, seeing new meal possibilities. Additionally, 9 in 10 (89%) said they are likely to continue to create additional meals on 'Use-Up Day'. If all households with children across Canada adopted this approach, the amount of food waste saved would be an estimated 250million kg.
"Reducing household food waste does not require complex physical interventions like specially organised fridges or the adoption of new, time-consuming habits. Instead, we designed solutions based on the fundamentals of the human experience and the science of behaviour change– which are what made this project so successful" said Kelly Peters, CEO and Co-Founder, BEworks.
"At Hellmann's we believe food is too precious to be wasted. As a brand that lives in the kitchens of millions of Canadians, we believe we have the power to make a difference and have made it our responsibility and mission to provide practical, effective solutions to help Canadians reduce the amount of edible food they throw away in their homes. We are proud that this Canadian pilot study has shown how we can do just that and look forward to rolling out this proven approach to all Canadians later this year," said Kristen Denega, Senior Brand Manager on Condiments, Unilever Canada.
Following the initial success of the study, Hellmann's aims to build the program into a digital experience to be launched nationally across Canada. The ambition is for the program to then rollout globally, aiming to inspire and enable 100 million people every year through 2025 to be more resourceful with their food at home, so they waste less.
The Hellmann's "Make Taste, Not Waste" program supports Unilever's Future Foods ambition, which launched globally in 2020 with two key objectives: to help people transition towards healthier diets and to help reduce the environmental impact of the global food chain. Core commitments within the Future Foods ambition include to halve food waste in Unilever's direct global operations from factory to shelf by 2025 and through its brands, help consumers to waste less food at home. As a member of the Champions 12.3 coalition, Unilever is dedicated to accelerating progress towards achieving SDG 12.3. The business has also adopted the Champions 12.3 'Target–Measure–Act' approach.
For more information, visit: https://www.hellmanns.com/ca/en/foodwastestudy
NOTES TO EDITORS
The behaviour change programme took place in November 2020, over the course of five consecutive weeks. A total of 911 Canadian families completed the study – participants had at least one child (age 3-18), and were the primary shopper/food preparer in the household.
The follow-up survey was conducted in February 2021 with 649 participants.
Research from Hellmann's and BEworks 'Understanding Food Utilization and Waste in a Covid-19 World' conducted in May 2020, amongst 1046 Canadian and 1014 Brazilian respondents, has also been referenced.
The study employed a randomised controlled design. Participants were randomly assigned to one of five conditions. In the control group, they were only asked to fill out a weekly food management survey, including a validated food waste self-report measure. Participants in the other groups also completed the weekly food management survey. In addition to this, participants in the intervention groups were encouraged to 'rediscover' foods they had in their kitchen, collecting vegetables, fruit, bread and other foods nearing expiry, and then use them up to make a meal. To foster action, participants were asked to commit to making one additional meal each week using leftover food they may have otherwise thrown away, using a 'flexipe', and read tips on food management. Participants in the first group only received this encouragement. Participants in the second, third and fourth intervention group were given additional tools: one group received storage baskets for unused foods as visual reminders, one group received clips that they could use to bundle unused foods together as a visual reminder, and one group was asked to write down unused foods on a small whiteboard that they were asked to attach to their fridge door.
Unilever is one of the world's leading suppliers of Beauty & Personal Care, Home Care, and Foods & Refreshment products, with sales in over 190 countries and products used by 2.5 billion people every day. We have 149,000 employees and generated sales of €50.7 billion in 2020. Over half of our footprint is in developing and emerging markets. We have around 400 brands found in homes all over the world. In the United States and Canada, the portfolio includes iconic brand such as: Dove, Knorr, Hellmann's, Lipton, Magnum, Axe, Ben & Jerry's, Degree, Dollar Shave Club, Q-tips, Seventh Generation, St. Ives, Suave, TRESemmé, and Vaseline.
Our vision is to be the global leader in sustainable business and to demonstrate how our purpose-led, future-fit business model drives superior performance. We have a long tradition of being a progressive, responsible business. It goes back to the days of our founder William Lever, who launched the world's first purposeful brand, Sunlight Soap, more than 100 years ago, and it's at the heart of how we run our company today.
The Unilever Compass, our sustainable business strategy, is set out to help us deliver superior performance and drive sustainable and responsible growth, while:
- improving the health of the planet;
- improving people's health, confidence and wellbeing; and
- contributing to a fairer and more socially inclusive world.
For more information on Unilever Canada and its brands visit: www.unilever.ca
For more information on Unilever's commitment to food waste, visit: https://www.unilever.com/planet-and-society/waste-free-world/tackling-food-waste/
1 This is one of the longest studies tracking food waste behaviour over a sustained period of time
2 Hellmann's and BEworks research conducted in May 2020 amongst Canadian families
SOURCE Hellmann''s Canada
For further information: Meg Robertson, Phone: 647 916 2067, Email: [email protected]