Through one of the longest and largest behavioural studies into household food waste, Hellmann’s discovered that adopting just one ‘Use-Up Day’ per week – making a meal using ingredients already in the fridge and kitchen – can reduce the amount of food thrown away by a third.
The study found that the main reasons people throw away food at home include forgetting what’s in the fridge, freezer or cupboard, or not knowing what to make with left-behind ingredients. So these items are often ignored and eventually binned.
Through some easy-to-use tools, Hellmann’s created a way to help people see the potential to make a delicious meal from what they have to hand, giving them confidence in their skills and resourcefulness.
The brand developed the ‘3+1 Approach’ to give people a simple rule of thumb: use a base (such as bread, rice or pasta), vegetable or fruit, and a protein of choice (like tofu or eggs). Then bring these ingredients together with a ‘magic touch’ such as herbs, spices or a condiment to add flavour.
The concept was accompanied by a book of ‘Flexipes’ – flexible recipes – which applied the 3+1 Approach with ideas for using up commonly wasted ingredients like bread, tomatoes, apples and potatoes.
As Global Brand VP Christina Bauer-Plank says: “This study took people from a mindset of ‘what do I want to cook and what ingredients do I need’ and reframed it as ‘what food do I already have and what can I make with it’. By giving them the tools and motivation to be more resourceful, we have shown them how to reduce the amount of food they throw away each week.”
Kelly Peters, co-founder of behavioural scientists BEworks – Hellmann’s research partner for the study – backs this up: “Reducing food waste does not require complex physical interventions like specially organised fridges or the adoption of new, time-consuming habits. We designed solutions based on the fundamentals of the human experience and the science of behaviour change.”