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11/25/2021

Curbing Canadian food waste: There’s an app for that

Canadians are among the world’s worst offenders when it comes to domestic food waste. Hellmann’s Canada wants to change that with Fridge Night
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As part of an ongoing commitment to reducing food waste, Hellmann’s Canada has launched an app called “Fridge Night” that is designed to get Canadians to use up any leftover food in their refrigerator.

The free app is built around content including a series of weekly challenges hosted by chef Andy Hay, a season seven finalist on MasterChef Canada. They include “10 meals in a minute” challenge (in which users are asked to spot 10 potential meals in their fridge in just one minute) and “Fakeout 15” (in which they are challenged to create a copy of a favourite takeout order in 15 minutes with what they have on hand).

The mayonnaise brand is enticing its users to complete the missions by offering $10 off coupons on Unilever products through its online U Shop store. It is also extending its partnership with Second Harvest by donating a meal on users’ behalf—up to 25,000 in total—for every meal completed within the app.

A study released by the United Nations earlier this year found 61% of all food waste occurs within the home, and that Canadians are among the world’s worst offenders—with the average person generating an average of 79 kilograms of waste per year, 63% of which is still fit to be consumed.

“Hellmann’s has a fundamental belief that food is too good to be wasted, and as a brand that reaches millions of people through our products, we believe we have both an opportunity and a responsibility to raise awareness about the issue and help people reduce food waste,” says Kristen Denega, senior brand manager, condiments at Hellmann’s Canada.

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Hellmann's has a stated mission to get 100 million people around the world to waste less food. In Canada, it has embarked on several programs aimed at curbing waste—including last year’s creation of Hellmann’s Island in the Nintendo game Animal Crossing, and a recent program that saw it wrap garbage trucks in Peterborough, Ont.

“[I]t’s clear there is a need to find an effective and tangible way to change the habits and attitudes of consumers in order to reduce food waste at the household level,” says Denega. “Fridge Night is rooted in behavioural science to offer an effective solution that can help change consumer behaviour and attitudes towards food longer term,” she said.

Earlier this year, Hellmann’s partnered with the behavioural scientists BEworks and other global experts on what it calls one of the “longest and largest consumer behaviour-change studies” on household food waste, with 1,000 Canadian families.

The Fridge Night app is rooted in the study’s findings, including the fact that adopting just one Use-Up Day each week and flexible recipes (which the company has dubbed “flexipes”) can reduce household food waste by one third.