This year is already proving to be extraordinary. We are seeing inflation reigniting and disposable incomes falling in many countries, while poverty levels are predicted to rise. This is against a backdrop of 14% of global food production being lost and 17% of food available at consumer-level being wasted, while 10% of global population go hungry. This loss and waste is costing around a trillion US dollars per year and accounts for between 8-10% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Recent research showed that per capita household food waste is significant in almost every country that has measured it, regardless of country income level. Households generate an average 74kg per person per year- that’s more than the body weight of an average person. Helping people reduce food waste and thereby save money is increasingly a priority globally and one that CGF has embraced.
It is great to see that The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) is taking the Target: Measure: Act approach to tackling food waste, setting a clear target of halving food waste by 2030 in line with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12.3. Many of the CGF’s members are measuring their operational food waste now to establish their baseline and the opportunities for savings. They are also acting on these data to put themselves and the sector on a trajectory to reduce food loss and waste. But how might we help people- customers, employees and householders-reduce food waste in our homes?
To try to help people tackle food waste, Love Food, Hate Waste, a campaign from the NGO WRAP, launched Food Waste Action Week in 2021 with the aim of creating lasting change through engaging consumers about the issue and providing them with tips and tricks to reduce the food waste in their homes. This ultimately encourages them to change their behaviours, save money and reduce their environmental impact.
A recent survey of people’s habits and knowledge around food waste showed that 81% of UK citizens are concerned about climate change, but only 32% see a clear link with food waste. This survey helped to inform the campaign theme: the impact of household food waste on climate change. We believe this is the case in other countries too, hence we set out to take Food Waste Action Week to an international audience.
This year saw the second annual Food Waste Action Week, which took place between 7th and 13th March 2022. The campaign week was widely taken up internationally across 12 countries and over 80 organisations. These included: Canada, USA, Australia, South Africa, Indonesia, Mexico, Mauritius and New Zealand. Those supporting the week included CGF members such as: Danone, Aldi, Ocado, Premier Foods, Sainsbury’s and Sodexo.
Food Waste Action Week is undertaken with the support of WRAP partners including retailers and food brands. This includes financial support to help us reach as many people as possible as well as by helping spread the message to their audiences and networks through social media campaigns, branded livery and shared communications materials.
For this campaign the spotlight was on the unsung heroes that live in many kitchens – fridges, freezers, and microwaves; with the focus on freezing and defrosting as the key behaviours. Evidence suggests there is a lack of knowledge around these actions, yet they could help reduce food waste in homes, helping to save both the planet and money. Freezing our food buys us a bit more time before it goes off, but many of us lack confidence when it comes to defrosting, so our good intentions can go out the window because we forget to take food back out of the freezer.
This year we had multiple communications assets that worked internationally and could be selected according to what worked best for each territory. It was great to see the campaign messaging translated into multiple languages, so for next year we plan to widen our offer of translated assets.
The campaign also included a visually striking installation made from mountains of food waste which, along with our celebrity ambassador, generated powerful content and iconic imagery. Which helped set the scene for the remainder of the week.
While final numbers haven’t been confirmed, early indicators from the UK suggest the campaign reached a large number of citizens, with over 4 million views of the campaign film on YouTube (with industry leading viewership – 90% of viewers watched the video to the end). The week generated around 600 pieces of media coverage across the UK alone along with TV coverage in Canada and Australia.
The campaign was seen or heard by 9.6 million people and 58% of these people said they went onto to do something different as a result. This equates to 5.6 million people taking action. This impact will grow as more data comes from our international partners.
Now our attention’s turned to Food Waste Action Week 2023 which will be held between 6th March to 12th March 2023. We expect the rising cost of living to inform our campaign messaging and are looking for partners to work with us to influence even more people and help them take action to reduce food waste and save money. We hope to make our next campaign week, the biggest, and most international ever.
We would love to have more CGF members involved next year to help even more people take action to reduce food waste around the world. Please email us at LFHWInternational@wrap.org.uk to find out more about getting involved.