There’s no doubt that the fight against food waste is not an easy one with brands, retailers and we as consumers all having a part to play.
As a nation, we are throwing away £13bn worth of food a year which equals around 15m tonnes! One positive you won’t often hear though is that we are also wasting 1m tonnes less each year, according to the waste and recycling advisory body, Wrap. The trouble is it’s nowhere near enough!
Instagram and millennials go hand in hand and both have recently been branded as spurring on a generation of food wasters. Working within food PR, we are all guilty here of snapping away at our foodie finds to get the perfect shot, before delving in. Let’s face it, if you didn’t capture it on camera did you even eat it?
It’s this attitude towards food that is said to be fuelling our food waste problem. The fact that we are focused on what our food looks like, trying more unusual recipes and using exotic ingredients to share on social media has been linked to spending more on food and throwing more waste away. As part of Sainsbury’s “waste less, save more” scheme, they carried out some research which revealed a generational divide into food attitudes. More than half of 18-34 year olds were found to have a “live to eat” attitude, whereas the older generation follow more of an “eat to live” attitude. While this may be true and millennials are spending more on food than ever before (cue the ridiculous “Stop buying avocado on toast if you want to buy a home” headline), there is also more interest than ever in where our food is coming from and the impact of our shopping with reducing food waste being very high on the agenda. With millenials’ love of food surely comes a hate to waste attitude too?
Innovative start-ups are taking a big role in making it easier for us as consumers to waste less. Last week, we held the semi-final of our client Cotswold Fayre’s Young Food and Drink Entrepreneur of the Year Award and it was clear to see a recurring ethos behind their business’ to do good and reduce food waste, like Get Wonky’s range of fruit juice made using only wonky fruits that would otherwise be wasted. These “rescued food” brands are popping up more and more within the European market, as well as the first food waste supermarkets and even restaurants too.
It’s not just the food and drink sector seeing start-ups emerge focused on food waste, but also tech brands. Mobile apps like ‘Too Good to Go’ are growing and innovations in packaging technology are beginning to become more mainstream. The manufacturer’s organisation food and drink sector bulletin in association with Santander revealed smarter packaging to be a long-term trend set to revolutionise the sector in areas including waste reduction. Sainsbury’s recently launched its first “smart” label on its own-brand packets of ham. Using smart sensors to test temperature, the label changes colour to show consumers how long the food will last once opened with the aim of reducing how much is thrown away whilst also saving customers money. Smart packaging of this sort is predicted to hit our shelves more and more and we could see the end of use by dates.
So while millennials may love to take the perfect #foodpic for Instagram, it’s also this same generation that is leading innovations within the food and tech industries and marking the reduction of food waste as a priority.
Our consumer PR agency specialises in connecting everyday brands with everyday people across four core sectors; Consumer PR, Food & Drink PR, Consumer Technology PR and Sport, Health & Wellbeing PR.