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Would You Share Leftover Turkey with Your Neighbors? How We Can Begin Changing Our Culture of Food Waste

On a holiday created to remind us what we are thankful for (which has mostly become an excuse for us to stuff ourselves), many of us would probably rather not think about our country’s problem with food waste. Well, here it is, anyway: The average U.S. family trashes $1,500 worth of edible food each year while one in six Americans struggles with food insecurity. And this Thanksgiving holiday, our food waste is expected to spike as high as 25 percent in some households.

How might we change our culture of waste? And what is the role for retailers and food manufacturers?

A new trend report from brand innovation firm BBMG reveals why cutting food waste at home entails shifting the narrative and disrupting the consumer journey.

“What we know is that most food waste happens in the home,” Doug Rauch, founder of the Daily Table and former president of Trader Joe’s, is quoted as saying in the report. “The challenge then is to think of innovative ways to interact with customers and change the culture of waste at home. First, we have to stop using the word ‘waste’ – because who wants a second helping of food waste?”

Based on global research and follow-up ethnography about the values and rituals on display in U.S. households, Waste Not, Want Not: Aspirationals and the Future of Food Waste explores the key drivers and barriers behind our culture of waste. And in detailing the consumer journey it reveals many opportunities for cutting waste at key stages — from planning and shopping to unpacking, cooking and disposing of food (Hear more from BBMG’s Mitch Baranowski in a recent SB webinar).

The free report highlights various clever attempts by retailers and other industry groups to raise consumers’ awareness of the food waste issue, such as Intermarche’s “Inglorious Fruits and Vegetables” and WRAP’s “Love Food, Hate Waste” and “Fresher for Longer” campaigns. The report also:

  • Examines Aspirational consumers’ food waste rituals and routines
  • Provides insight into the values and issues that matter most for this growing segment
  • Explores new territories for advancing your brand strategy
  • Shares insights into driving consumer engagement
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