Video: Sainsbury’s new food wastage tool explained

The banner ad, which will appear on Google and other sites, carries the same functionality as the food wastage tool. Mobile users will be able to click on the expandable banner and speak the names of up to nine ingredients into their smartphone, which will be used to show a range of recipe ideas, from simple snacks to dinner party ideas.

Desktop users will be able to input their ingredients using a keyboard, with the same result.

The ads are aimed at promoting Sainsbury’s Food Rescue, which aims to offer shoppers inspiration and advice on how to use leftovers and other ingredients. The move comes after Google data revealed that searches for terms such as “leftovers” have increased by a third over the past year, with around 64 per cent of those performed on mobile devices.

The tool will also be promoted via social media and in emails to customers, while Sainsbury’s staff will be fully briefed on the service.

Speaking to Marketing Week, Sainsbury’s head of brand communication Mark Given claims that around a fifth of the food purchased in the UK is wasted, with 60 per cent of that “perfectly edible”. He says waste is a big issue for customers but one that they find hard to address.

“We have a role to play in helping reduce food waste around the country. We have tried to do this over the years – our ‘Live Well For Less’ positioning is about helping customers and we try to be a responsible retailer through initiatives such as ‘Love Your Leftovers’ [a post Christmas ad campaign offering recipe ideas] that customers respond really well to,” he ads.

The tool will also enable customers to input the amount of food they have rescued and money saved, which will feed into a leaderboard showing how much different cities and regions have saved, as well as the UK as a whole. Given said the aim is to bring a “community spirit” to saving food and make people feel part of a wider movement.

The Food Rescue service forms part of Sainsbury’s 20×20 Sustainability Plan, which includes efforts to reduce food waste. It already runs a number of initiatives including donating meals through food donation partnerships and working with government body Wrap to reduce waste and has commitments to send zero waste to landfill by 2020.

Tesco recently upped the focus on food waste by revealing figures for the first time that showed 28,500 tonnes of food was wasted at its stores and distribution centres in the first half of last year. Sainsbury’s says it has no plans to follow suit.

Separately, Tesco has also tied up with Google to let schoolchildren go on an interactive virtual field trips. Using Google’s Connected Classrooms platform, pupils won’t have to leave the classroom to experience visits to locations including an Italian pasta producer, Indian rice paddy or a strawberry farm in Kent.

Devised by Tesco’s digital agency Zone, experiences are powered by Google+ technology and Tesco is the first European brand to use it. The supermarket has worked with teachers to ensure the trips adhere to the national curriculum and form part of its Eat Happy Project, a food education programmed aimed at improving kids’ health.