How Love Food Hate Waste leads to behaviour change for nearly 7 in 10 of its audience

Dr Mark Roberts, Lead Analyst, WRAP

We find ourselves in unusual times, having to repeatedly re-evaluate the things we do and the decisions we make. We can no longer rely so heavily on our system 1 thinking – our automatic and impulsive decision-making process; instead we find ourselves needing to actively engage our system 2 thinking – a more conscious, aware and considered approach.

But what impact is this having on our food habits and behaviours?

Citizens are seeking out Love Food Hate Waste resources to find new food management strategies

The latest instalment of WRAP’s long running longitudinal survey (exploring household food waste, conducted in September 2020*) suggests that this re-evaluation extends to household food management behaviours. We found that, of the reasons why citizens have adjusted their behaviours, some common ones have been specific to the circumstances of lockdown, such as worries about running out of food, and not wanted to shop as often. Motivated to make a change, people are seeking out Love Food Hate Waste resources.

To support citizens in establishing new food management strategies, WRAP has developed several resources communicated through its citizen-facing Love Food Hate Waste brand, built using expert understanding of behaviour change. These have been designed to show citizens that we can all do our bit for the environment (and save money) with just a few easy, everyday actions at home. 

Storing food correctly can be one of the best ways to keep the food we buy fresher for longer, giving us the greatest opportunity to eat what we buy. Love Food Hates Waste’s resources – the Chill The Fridge Out tool and the Food Storage A–Z – provide practical advice that all of us can use to manage the food in our home.

1 in 3 recall the Love Food Hate Waste logo

Our research found that, as of September 2020, one in three (36%) UK citizens recall seeing Love Food Hate Waste campaigns and resources, while 30% recall seeing the Love Food Hate Waste logo, double the figure from 2018 (15%). 

In June 2020, nine in ten (92%) of the UK citizens who had seen Love Food Hate Waste resources found them useful; Chill the Fridge Out was useful for 91% and the Food Storage A–Z for 90%. What’s more, almost seven in ten (67%) report changing at least one food management behaviour as a result of the information provided. That’s 4.4 million UK citizens aged 18+ doing something differently because of Love Food Hate Waste resources.

8 in 10 who recall the ‘Keep Crushing It’ campaign take action

Following the June phase of our research, we developed the ‘Keep Crushing It’ campaign for Love Food Hate Waste – encouraging and enabling citizens to maintain the good behaviours we observed them picking up during the early lockdown period. In September, we found that almost eight in ten (79%) that recall ‘Keep Crushing It’ did something differently as a result. Furthermore, 7 in 10 of those that saw Chill The Fridge Out (72%) and the Food Storage A–Z (71%) also reported that they have done something differently.  

Research conducted in June also found that there was strong association between food management behaviours and seeing information from WRAP’s citizen-facing campaign Love Food Hate Waste. For example, those who saw the Food Storage A–Z guidance undertook 12.4 behaviours more often, compared to a national average of 6.7. The strength of the association suggests that, as citizens were adjusting their behaviours to lockdown, these Love Food Hate Waste resources played a crucial role in supporting them to establish new food routines and strategies.

Delivering successful citizen campaigns with our partners

Love Food Hate Waste will continue to develop campaigns and resources that provide citizens with the advice and information they need to help them manage the food they buy. However, this isn’t something we can do alone.

Our research showed that those that could recall having read or heard about food waste as an issue were more likely to adopt behaviours that led to food being wasted less. This should encourage us and partners to be bold in how we work towards this common goal: the more people we can reach with our messages, the more people we will see making a positive change.

WRAP is, by its very nature, a collaborative organisation. We work with a variety of partners such as the Co-op to achieve our aim of reducing food waste. To coincide with the launch of our Food Storage A–Z, the Co-op developed some social media assets to direct its audience to our tool and provide advice about key household food products. 

We’ve seen how resilient people in the UK have been during this unprecedented time; people are willing to make a change. Our task will be to provide the resources, tools and information that will help citizens to adopt and sustain positive food management behaviours.

Love Food Hate Waste is helping more and more people, and there are lots of ways our partners can make use of the incredible resources and communications we create. From retailers to local authorities, universities to banks, charities to trade bodies, there is room for everyone in the fight against food waste.  

The timing is right to engage with customers on this issue

Eight in ten (82%) UK citizens believe that food waste is an important national issue and nine in ten (90%) agree that everyone including me, has a responsibility to minimise the food we throw away. The timing is right for Love Food Hate Waste to connect with UK citizens, and for our partners to engage with their customers on this issue, both right now and in our upcoming Food Waste Action Week – adding value by giving citizens access to tools they are searching for.

*The full research report will be available to view on the WRAP website from Friday 16 October 2020.