Why Hellmann’s deployed a fleet of garbage trucks

The Unilever brand brings a new visualization of its food waste message to the streets of Peterborough.
Hellmann's Garbage Truck

Hellmann’s Canada has plastered half of Peterborough’s garbage trucks with an unfortunate message to further its advocacy for food waste.

The message: waste collection vehicles could be considered Canada’s most popular food truck, as 58% of the food produced in this country ends up rotting away in landfills – a fact that Hellmann’s finds unpalatable.

“As a brand that reaches into millions of homes every day through its products, we believe we have both an opportunity and a responsibility to drive awareness of the problem of household food waste,” says Kristen Denega, senior brand manager for Hellmann’s at Unilever Canada. “Our global brand mission is to help people become more resourceful with their food and ultimately waste less.”

That mission has long been a key focus for Hellmann’s Canada, which launched what it calls its “Real Food Movement” in 2007. That effort has helped it grow the brand year-over-year and build strong equity through the “Urban Gardens” program – launched in five cities across the country in 2008 – as well as its Real Food Grants and Real Food Rescue programs.

Last year, the brand brought the issue back into the public’s consciousness – and sought to reach out to a new audience of gamers – through the popular Animal Crossing video game with its Hellmann’s Island initiative.

For this effort, the City of Peterborough made a natural partner. The municipality has been engaged in its own massive undertaking to reduce food waste, implementing a new organic waste collection and composting program called GROW (Green Resource Organics Works) – slated to come online in full in 2023 – to help divert food waste from the landfill and bring it closer to its zero waste ambition.

“This partnership was the perfect opportunity to bring this message to the forefront in a unique format, by literally helping Canadians visualize both the amount of food wasted, as well as the overall impact,” says Denega.

The signage will remain on Peterborough’s waste collection vehicles for the next three months, and Hellmann’s Canada plans to approach other municipalities across the country to continue to drive awareness on a national scale, Denega says. The stunt is supported by a microsite that provides food waste tips, meal inspiration and more.

The brand will also be launching a new app in November called “Fridge Night,” which will give users resources that will encourage them to cook up something good with the items already in their fridge, promoting resourcefulness and waste reduction on the home front.

Hellmann’s once again worked with Ogilvy Toronto on creative and Edelman on PR.