The LFHW Outreach Team had as its focus to reduce avoidable food waste by helping people appreciate and use more of the food they buy. The pilot in Safeway stores is part of Metro Vancouver’s goal to reduce waste by 10% by 2018, as outlined in the Solid Waste Management Plan.
The outreach team connected with a total of 614 people who were shopping in the stores, primarily within the produce departments of 10 different stores in the region on weekends between February 27 and April 10, 2016.
The pilot highlighted the degree of unawareness of the issue of food waste. Many customers were surprised to hear that this is an issue and/or were surprised to hear that composting does not fully address the issue/is only one part of the solution. Alternately, many customers acknowledge that they have heard of food waste but do not consider it a problem for them, and expressing that they eat everything and compost what they don’t.
It was challenging to generate initial conversations with nearly half of the customers. The plans to offer food samples were not realized and would have provided a catalyst for more receptive responses, and starting points for meaningful conversations and lasting comprehension.
❖ 53% of those invited to explore food waste, engaged in conversation with the outreach team.
❖ Of the 323 who engaged in conversation, the outreach team recorded 88 people (27%) who responded to the outreach team by saying something similar to, “I didn’t know that!” and 25 people (8%) shared a tip on the Love Food Hate Waste website.
❖ All conversations were recorded according to a set of characteristics to distinguish the depth of understanding generated by each visit. These are summarized in the following categories:
BRIEF: 42% of these were brief and were characterized by visitors asking one question and taking away one key msg or a recipe card.
LINGERING: 26% of these were more focused and characterized by visitors asking more than one question, or engaging with an interactive tool (Fridge Zone or $100 tip cards), along with taking away at least one key message or a recipe card.
IN-DEPTH: 32% of these were in depth and characterized by visitors taking action beyond the conversation by taking the pledge to reduce food waste, expressing their commitment, sharing a tip, and taking away two or more key messages.