WRAP’s Love Food Hate Waste campaign put the problem of food waste on the map, driving a 21% reduction in the five years to 2012. In 2014 we ran a strategic project helping them develop their next phase of work, moving away from generic campaigns to a more personalised vision of what people could do. More recently in 2017 we ran two strategic projects to refine their face-to-face activities and engagement with national charity partners and are currently working on a series of pilots engaging public sector employees in Wales. And last year we helped them develop and test a partner programme for employers to use LFHW materials to engage employees in reducing food waste at home.
Every day in the UK, 4.4 million apples get thrown away.
Shocking statistics like this one make headlines and have played a major role in putting food waste on the agenda. However, the impact of shock tactics decreases over time and it’s easy for people to edit themselves out of the problem by blaming others.
Wasting food is unlike many other behaviours in that no-one sets out to do it. It’s the unintended consequence of a range of often well intentioned behaviours (for example buying lots of vegetables in order to eat more healthily). And by the time the food’s been wasted (for instance because it’s gone off) it’s too late to act.
In order to tackle food waste, we need people to realise that there are things they personally do that contribute to it. We need them to work out what those things are and have strategies available to do things differently next time.
This means a move away from generic campaigning on issues like leftovers (which only apply to some people, some of the time) to a more personalised approach which allows people to diagnose their own food waste habits and get help in changing them.
To build on their initial success with a fresh approach, we worked with the Love Food Hate Waste team to develop a new strategy and communications architecture focused around the idea of ‘doing one thing differently’, which encouraged people to work out the small changes they could make to their personal habits to reduce the amount of food they were wasting.
We also led the development of an online tool ‘Your Food Waste Assistant’ which asks just two simple questions about the food you are wasting in order to provide specific advice on how to avoid doing it next time.
Our new behaviourally led approach was central to Love Food Hate Waste’s strategy going forward and our behind the scenes development work for the ‘Food Waste Assistant’ meant that for the first time Love Food Hate Waste had a database of over 600 foods and the strategies that can be used for each one to avoid wasting it.
In 2017 we ran two further projects for the Love Food Hate Waste team:
- Developing a new strategy for their face-to-face activities, which included a critical appraisal of current and potential tactics, and the use of behavioural tools to develop new recommendations for face to face engagement
- Strategic work to enhance their engagement with national organisations, including developing relationships with 10 potential partners and establishing a set of principles for best practice partnerships
2018 saw us develop and test a partner programme for employers:
- Working with 3 public sector employers in Wales, newly developed resources were used as part of a 2 week campaign in each office to engage employees on the value of food, the cost of waste and the behaviours they could adopt at home
- Using a pre and post survey, resource usage metrics and feedback interviews, we were able to establish that the campaign had a good rate of being noticed and remembered by staff, with some limited evidence that this awareness translated into changed behaviour change at home
- We packaged our recommendations into a 5-step guide to engaging employees on food waste