There is a massive food waste problem. One-third of the world's food is wasted. In Australia food waste costs $20 billion a year. Since 2004 OzHarvest have been dedicated to stopping this waste. They rescue an incredible 100 tonnes of food every week and last year alone provided 13.2 million meals for people in need. They've built relationships with over 2000 food donors (supermarkets, delis, takeaways, manufacturers, producers, growers and restaurants and caterers).
OzHarvest was so successful at rescuing food, they had regular surpluses. More food than they could distribute to the 20 or so charities they worked with. Food they, of course, didn't want to waste. So, they came to us looking for a solution.
They wanted to find a way to not waste this surplus rescue food and at the same time do more for people in need. Not just the homeless, but also people living on or close to the breadline.
They also hoped the idea could help increase awareness of the food waste issue in Australia. OzHarvest wanted an idea that started a conversation about food waste and increased their Facebook following.
Together with OzHarvest we decided to create a supermarket. A super new kind of supermarket with no check-outs. No price tags. And no expiry dates. The idea was that people simply take what they need and give/pay what they can. We even accepted hugs – lots of them. Every piece of food was rescued - from restaurants, producers, caterers and other supermarkets.
The question of where to host the supermarket was solved thanks to the generosity of a developer. They had a building they couldn't move into until next year. So rather than leaving it sitting there empty, they worked with us to do something good with the space.
With a limited budget OzHarvest furnished the Market as inexpensively as they could, even using handmade signage within the Market, pushing the message of take what you need, pay what you can and adding messages of love and hope.
We helped publicise and spread the news about the Market locally, producing street posters and take-one flyers and helping create the market's ID and outer signage.
OzHarvest then started filling the Super new Market – something they had no problem with because of the relationships they've built with supermarkets, producers, growers and many other food outlets.
When we created the video about the market, both OzHarvest and ourselves would have been happy with 100,000 or so views. But we underestimated the appeal of the idea and our novel new way of solving food waste.
The Facebook native video received 8 million views in Australia and around the world. Generating more than 197,000 shares, 68,400 likes, thousands of positive comments and a reach of 22.1 million on Facebook alone. All with a Facebook media spend of just $30. Facebook said it was one of their most effective charity posts in 2017 in Australia.
We also attracted worldwide media attention with over 19 Million media impressions globally, with coverage by the New York Times, BBC, 7 Sunrise, Nippon TV, ABC News, The Guardian, France Television… among many others. 331 news and broadcast articles (online, radio, TV, print), 203 in Australia and 128 Internationally. 269M International Potential Reach (see Meltwater Influencers dashboard in the entry images).
That's all very exciting and has helped us significantly increase awareness and start a conversation about food waste.
But most gratifying of all are the 200 plus people who come to the supermarket every day. They are often queues outside. In the first month alone we helped feed 6,000 people with a sense of dignity and love. Many of whom did, in fact, pay what they could, out of thankfulness and respect.