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Marketing and Comms
Hellmann’s Working to Save Mayo (and Sandwiches) from Extinction

The brand invites fans to ‘adopt’ one of four classic, mayo-centric sandwiches at risk of extinction to increase awareness of the importance of regenerative farming practices.

Rest in Perfection, BLT. We’ll miss you.

Many of our beloved sandwiches could become extinct as early as 2043. Thanks to soil erosion, growing soybean crops — a key ingredient in Hellmann’s (aka Best Foods in parts of the US) mayonnaise — is becoming increasingly difficult, leaving the future of beloved mayo-filled sandwiches uncertain.

With new Edelman research on behalf of Hellmann’s revealing two-thirds of US consumers believe that sandwiches taste better with mayonnaise and 95 percent of Americans eat sandwiches regularly, Hellmann's is on a mission to transform the way soybeans are grown and Save Our Sandwiches.

Hellmann's has been actively committed to helping people enjoy food, without worry or waste; in recent years, it has become a force for positive behavior change around household food waste through its "Make Taste Not Waste" campaigns — which inspire people to be more mindful about food waste and turn their leftovers into easy, tasty meals.

Now, through, the brand aims to extend consumer conscientiousness around food to remembering where it comes from and the importance of environmental stewardship; and from April 17-24, sandwich lovers can join Hellmann’s mission and support their favorite lunch staple by “adopting” one of four sandwich plushies designed after four ‘endangered’ sandwiches of which mayo is a key component — the BLT, Turkey Club, Italian Sub and Egg Salad.

Image credit: Save Our Sandwiches

By adopting a sandwich, similar to how someone might sponsor or 'adopt' an endangered species, fans can help raise awareness of regenerative-agriculture practices needed to save the mayo that brings our sandwiches together. All applicants will receive a digital adoption certificate and a $1 coupon for any Hellmann’s product. Randomly selected lucky adopters will receive an Adoption Kit — which includes one plushie sandwich, an official adoption certificate and a bottle of Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise.

“The concept of ‘adopting’ a sandwich is a relatable way to educate and help people understand the risk of endangerment, which is why we thought to use this concept and invite our fans to help support their favorite mayo-centric sandwiches and demonstrate the positive impact regenerative agriculture could play in safeguarding the future of mayonnaise,” said Chris Symmes, Senior Marketing Director for Dressings at Hellmann’s parent company, Unilever — whose global regenerative-ag efforts also extend to ingredients including tomatoes (for its Knorr brand), mustard and mint (Colman’s). “We hope to see fans rallying behind the work we’re doing to preserve the taste of mayonnaise, reduce the risk of extinction and advocate to help farmers protect their soil — so, sandwiches can have that deliciously creamy bite of mayo for years to come.”

Hellmann’s has started its efforts to save soy by helping Iowa soybean farmers plant cover crops to reduce harm to soil and replenish it with critical nutrients; and the brand’s commitment of $30 million over the next five years will help even more farmers in the US and Canada embrace regenerative farming practices. Without these types of practices, the equivalent of one soccer field of soil is lost every five seconds due to erosion.

As of fall 2023, Hellmann’s has supported over 700 farmers in Iowa — resulting in more than 142,000 acres planted with cover crops to improve soil health — and this new commitment aims to scale this even further.

"Resource depletion, including the erosion of healthy soil, is making it more difficult for farmers we work with to grow soybean crops that are critical to Hellmann's mayonnaise,” said Stefani Millie Grant, Associate Director of External Affairs and Sustainability at Unilever North America. "Given the importance of soybeans to Hellmann’s, we believe that we should do our part to change this trajectory. That's why we're proud to be working with our partners at Practical Farmers of Iowa and directly with farmers to help them implement cover cropping and other regenerative practices — so they can become champions in protecting the future of mayo."

Throughout April, Hellmann’s — in partnership with creative agency VML and media agency Mindshare — is running print and digital out-of-home ads in Chicago and Cincinnati mourning the impending “death date” of mayonnaise and thus, these four mayo-centric sandwiches. Last month, Hellmann’s also created a pop-up sandwich shop to give unsuspecting New Yorkers a “taste of the future” without sandwiches.