Compass and Winnow have already taken impressive steps to reduce food waste from their kitchen operations and are now working with Hubbub to help their customers’ cut plate waste – which is the food customers throw in the bin. Data from Winnow shows that customer waste can account for up to five percent of food purchased by staff in restaurants.
The partnership is operating in four different sites, including a university, a distribution centre and two high profile businesses in Canary Wharf. It is exploring different behaviour change approaches and will measure whether they reduce food waste and if changes in habits remain in place over time.
Each campaign has been built by gaining insight from customers, measuring existing levels of plate waste and learning about the cultural drivers within the organisations. What has been common across all groups is that people will not respond favourably to messages that feel preachy or guilt-inducing. Eating is a time when people want to relax and have some social time – it is not the right time to start hammering home strong messages about food waste.
Instead of negative messaging Hubbub will be testing a variety of positive behaviour change interventions. These will include:
Nudge – simple ‘nudge’ messaging and techniques will be used encouraging people to make slightly different choices, particularly focussing on the food items that are most commonly wasted.
Rewards – two different reward systems will be tested. At one site this will be an open voting system where staff will select their favourite charity. A donation will be made to the winning charity, the size of which will be dependent on how successful the company has been at reducing food waste. At another site, there will be a giant and highly visual ‘pile of presents’ full of prizes. These presents will only be opened and the prizes awarded if the food waste target is hit.
Social Norms – at two of the sites, volunteer advocates will seek to change the social norm around food waste. At the University of Sussex volunteer student ‘Waste Warriors’ have been recruited to implement a food waste reduction initiative decided on by the students. At the distribution centre, customers will be encouraged to become ‘food waste ambassadors’ and trial kitchen gadgets to reduce food waste in their homes.
Feedback – on-going feedback and encouragement will be provided using the data collected by Winnow. The installation of Winnow’s unique data collection process will enable the impact of the campaign to be accurately measured.
The different trials will enable the partners to assess the impact of different approaches to reducing customer food waste. This will make it more cost-effective to implement the most effective elements in other restaurants across the country.