FREE HANDS | November, 2021

Each month you can find in our newsletter “The European” a section dedicated to the white card of the week.

A look back at the speeches of these communication professionals who share with us the way in which their professions have been reinvented in recent months …



If food waste were a nation, it would be the third-largest source of carbon emissions after China and the United States combined. Food waste is, without a doubt, a global problem from an ethical, economic and environmental point of view. The topic, which is at the top of the agendas of many governments, if evaluated in terms of opportunities for brands, reveals great potential to emerge in a saturated and homologated market, taking a strong position and transforming it into one’s own purpose.

We live in an era of precarious balance between opposing positions and paradoxes: on the one hand, we hear about initiatives and companies devoted to stemming the problem of food waste, and on the other side, the issue is ignored. Yet it is within the home that the worst figures are recorded.

Eliminating food waste at home is the concatenated result of a series of behaviours that should be adopted systematically ‚Äď from meal planning to shopping, to food storage and consumption. This is demonstrated by the significant drop in food in the dustbin during the lockdown when we were able to better manage food supplies.

We now look to the role of brands in raising consumer awareness on the extent of the problem of wasted food and in promoting more eco-sustainable habits. Adopting a countercurrent, eco-conscious and proactive brand story with respect to food waste is a differentiation lever and a way to engage young people, who are more sensitive and informed about issues related to the environment and more skeptical in the face of false promises and marketing strategies

During the pandemic, interest in sustainable products increased for 37% of consumers globally (KPMG, 2021). Many brands are dedicating themselves to transforming potential waste into new raw materials for upcycled products. Mondelez has collaborated with the Upcycled Food Association to define guidelines for the start-ups that make up its SnacksFutures, their innovation hub in which new products are developed. These include CaPao Fruit Bites (snacks made with cocoa fruit scraps) and Dirt Kitchen Snacks (which offers veggie crisps based on dried tomatoes, courgettes and carrots).

One of the biggest obstacles along the virtuous path of recycling is aesthetics. Bruised fruits and oddly shaped vegetables are instinctively discarded because they are judged to be bad. To combat waste, it is therefore imperative to find new strategies to contain the negative reactions associated with ‚ÄėInglorious Fruits & Vegetables’, as they were defined in the Marcel Worldwide campaign for Intermarch√©.

Food waste must be tackled on several fronts, with brands, institutions and consumers all doing their part. Brands must radically transform the concept of waste, from a waste element to a resource to be used for the creation of upcycled and accessible products. Being a spokesperson for these issues can help the cause by also increasing the value of the brand. We as consumers must adopt a more conscious and pragmatic approach, abandoning the bad habit of simply throwing away food that we consider waste, and introduce new ways to reuse leftovers in everyday life, leftovers that become raw materials for new recipes and preparations. A return to the past, when food was precious.


Strategist FutureBrand Milan


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