Hellmann’s takes on food deserts

Survey shows one in five Canadians live in a food desert

Food accessibility is at the heart of Hellmann’s latest campaign.

The mayo company hopes to spread awareness and spark change when it comes to Canada’s food deserts–areas where affordable, high-quality food is difficult to access.

"It's concerning that in a country like Canada, many families struggle to put real and fresh food on the table for their families," said Gina Kiroff, senior brand manager for Hellmann's Canada.

"Since launching the Real Food Movement in 2007, Hellmann's has been on a mission to get people excited about eating real, yet it's simply hard for many Canadians to do so, when their access to real food is limited, especially due to cost and availability," Kiroff added.

A survey conducted by the company found one in five Canadians are living in a food desert. What’s more, only 50% of Canadians have heard of the term.

These stats, said Kiroff, inspired Hellmann’s to tackle food insecurity head on.

One of the social media elements of the campaign encourages Canadians to join the conversation online using the hashtag #MyTomato.

“We tried to find a simple icon, like a tomato, that people can use to share how much a kilogram of tomatoes costs at their grocery store,” says Kiroff. “It will bring to life that in some areas a tomato might cost seven times more than others.”

Online and social elements of the campaign drive users to realfoodmovement.ca, where they can sign a petition that will be presented by Unilever to policy and industry leaders at the Food Summit in October. "Add your name to our petition to show this year's Canada Food Summit leaders that you believe in the importance of sustainable solutions, like building greenhouses to help northern food deserts," reads the website.

Celebrity chef Lynn Crawford, who worked with Hellmann’s last summer on a food truck initiative, is on board to help publicize the campaign.

To help provide a long-term solution, Hellmann’s has donated $75,000 to Northern Farm Training Institute to create a training greenhouse to help grow healthy produce and feed families.

Other elements of the campaign include a TV spot and a Rogers media partnership that includes print and online content.

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