Before the strawberries forgotten in the back of your fridge sprouted a layer of mold and ended up in the trash, they had a life. A clever new ad tells the backstory of a single berry from the field to a store to a garbage can, in an attempt to make more people think about food waste.
"We chose to tell the story of a piece of fruit to try and make people relate at an emotional level rather than purely an intellectual one," says Matthew Atkatz, executive creative director at SapientNitro, the agency that developed the ad pro bono for an Ad Council campaign. "We imagined a fantasy like a kids animated film, but told in real life from the food’s point of view."
The ad is part of a larger campaign called Save the Food, made with the Natural Resources Defense Council, which studies the environmental impacts of food waste. An uneaten strawberry, for example, wastes water, fertilizer, and fuel; globally, if food waste was a country, it would have the largest carbon footprint in the world after the U.S. and China. 40% of all food grown in the U.S. is trashed. "Consumers are actually the largest source of food waste, so creating awareness around wasting less food is a way to target that directly," says Dana Gunders, senior scientist at NRDC.
Though the issue of food waste has been getting more attention—the Obama Administration announced the country's first-ever food waste reduction goal in 2015—the team saw an opportunity to reach more people. "In our research, we saw that food waste is just beginning to become part of our national conversation," Atkatz says. "If we can raise awareness and help people save in their households, our hope is that it will have a ripple-effect across all aspects of our food supply."