Taste The Waste
Campaign against food waste

The impact of "Taste the Waste - a brief overview, by Valentin Thurn

„Taste the Waste” is a film about people who want to give food the appreciation back it deserves – because it is fundamental to our life. I saw that this topic deeply moves people, during more than 100 discussions in cinemas, where the documentary was shown. In 2011 it was a Box office hit, and with a cinema audience of over 180.000 viewers alone in the German speaking countries it was the most successful German documentary in 2011 / 2012.

I was really impressed to see how strong the emotions were when people became aware how much food is actually being destroyed every day. I have also seen tears, but in the end the reaction was positive: People felt empowered, and they asked me: What can I do? They told me they liked that I was not taking the moral high ground and did not just look for the bad guy. Viewers wanted to take responsibility ultimately wanting to contribute something.

Taste the Waste was an Agenda setting documentary. The results also moved the political sphere: Only five days after the first broadcasting the first reaction came in from the government of the largest federal state in Germany (North-Rhine Westphalia), announcing they will start a campaign against food waste, and only one month later the federal government in Berlin publicly announced they are going to commission a nationwide study. Meanwhile there are scientific studies almost everywhere in Europe and a variety of campaigns from governments and corporations that have been created due to the inspiration of “Taste the Waste” according to the organizations.

In addition, the film and its successor „Food Savers“ (2013) was cited in about 20 textbooks, in educational materials of the Protestant and Catholic churches, and by various development aid organizations.

It was visible that in the cinemas and on TV we reached out to audiences that normally never watch documentaries. The presentation shows you how.

We set up a strategy that included Internet and Offline campaigns. The basic platform is our website www.tastethewaste.com with interactive features. To get more followers we went to Twitter, and also opened a Blog. It turned out that this is a hell lot of work, somebody has to write all this stuff.

Facebook is even more challenging, because to create a vibrant community, you have to feed the social media with content on a regular basis. But in the end, Facebook activities have proven particularly rewarding: Even now, two years after the first broadcast and one year after the theatrical release, our Facebook community continues to grow. We have between 20,000 and 60,000 weekly contacts, depending on what our online manager posts. The posts that went viral the best were simple, like a supermarket's ad announcing World Animal Day on one page and offering super-cheap meat on the next. We also have a YouTube-Kanal where our trailer in the different language versions (German, English, Spanish, French, Portuguese) was clicked more than 500,000 times. The trailer spread worldwide because it was embedded in several hundred blogs and websites. That's viral distribution.

Our cooking campaigns, in over 20 cities, attracted particular attention. Together with partner organizations such as Slow Food or "Bread for the World," we prepared vegetables that would otherwise have been destined for destruction. In doing so, we served thousands of meals to passersby in pedestrian zones, making the issue of food waste the talk of the day in the local media.

For the event concept we won the golden apple at the „Adam&Eva-Award“ which is awarded to the best marketing events. We stood alongside expensive advertising campaigns such as the launch of the new Porsche. The jury judged our target group appeal to be "something everyone can experience" and an "image that stays in people's minds and encourages them to rethink in the long term.

The campaign continued with the internet platform "Foodsharing" - a tool that gives people the opportunity to share food that is still good. An example: One day before the vacation, you discover that the refrigerator is still full. Or: A baker still has leftovers, but there is no food bank nearby. So it is a kind of "food eBay". Foodsharing was launched in Germany in 2012, and in 2017 it will be released as open source and available to any group around the world.

More info about the movie here.