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Marketing and Comms
'The Economist' Raising Awareness of Food Issues Through 'Gross,' Uncomfortable Experiences

Each year on a global scale 30-50 percent of food produced goes to waste, $750 billion worth of food is thrown away and, in the United States alone, 35 million tons of food are discarded. The statistics surrounding food waste are staggering, but governments, NGOs and businesses alike are increasingly taking action to raise awareness for the problem, drive innovation and reduce waste along the value chain. The Economist is one such company tapping into the food waste conversation to drive change while growing brand awareness and generating new economic opportunities. The publication has announced plans to expand its #feedingthefuture campaign with the launch of “Fast Forward Food” in New York City and London and “Waste Not. Want Not” in San Francisco.

The #feedingthefuture campaign focuses on educating the public about food waste is a part of The Economist’s live content marketing program that aims to attract new readers through creative and provocative real world experiences.

The “Fast Forward Food” program is based on a report entitled, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Beef, from The Economist’s sister publication, 1843, which highlights the alternative protein product market. As part of the campaign, Economist-branded food trucks will be stationed around New York City and London starting in June, offering passersby samples of meat-free burgers in New York City and meat-free tacos in London.

At the same time, The Economist will bring #feedingthefuture to San Francisco, rolling out the “Waste Not. Want Not” and “Insect Ice Cream” programs. Throughout the month of June, San Franciscans will be offered free smoothies made from perfectly edible imperfect produce that would have otherwise ended up in landfill. An Economist-branded truck will also offer ice cream topped with edible insects, an alternative source of protein that is regularly consumed in other parts of the world.

Developing and Aligning on Brand Purpose

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Consumers who participate in the programs will have the opportunity to subscribe to the publication at an introductory rate of 12 weeks for $12 and as a special gift they can opt to have The Economist plant a tree on their behalf.

“The #feedingthefuture program brings The Economist’s mind-stretching journalism to life and challenges potential readers to stop and think about the world around them,” said Marina Haydn, Senior VP of Circulation and Retail Marketing for The Economist. “Our content speaks to the globally curious and the nature of our activation encourages people to step out of their comfort zone while considering the realities of a swelling global population.”

Launched in the UK in 2014, to date The Economist’s experiential activities have generated more than 30,000 new subscriptions worldwide. In addition, this marketing program garnered a 2017 #DoDifferent award for Long Term Strategy from the Marketing Agencies Association and the MPA Imagination Award for Audience Development.


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