Industry Events

Quirk’s Chicago

march 26-27 2024 · Chicago, IL






The food waste imperative


We’re Speaking & exhibiting

The food waste imperative

Date/Time TBD

The UN Environment Program indicated ~one-third of all food produced is wasted or lost each year. This equates to a staggering 1.3 billion tons of food wasted and costing the global economy ~$940 billion annually. While NGOs, governments and manufacturers take action, the solution cannot come fast enough. At Kerry, our global human insights center set out to estimate our role as manufacturers in solving food waste. To do so, we needed to uncover the reality of food waste among the sections we can impact – the CPG world. With our partners in C+R and Qualtrics, we did just that.

In early 2023, we set out to get an unfettered and unbiased version of the food waste situation as felt by normal consumers. We didn’t have a box of constraints limiting our human conversations. People have a deeply emotional relationship with food and food waste in the current economic environment. It is no longer the topic that only keeps the aspirational, eco-conscious consumer up. The impact of food waste is felt financially and emotionally. Not only was our aim to understand how consumers articulate food waste but also to study if food waste triggered a change in behavior and preferences.

To explore a topic that is relatively delicate it was important to employ a conversational repertoire with people, uncover the stated and unstated whys and why nots in their behavior. Employing a futures-thinking focus we set out on a non-traditional path away from surveys to first explore the topic.

Our insights on food waste draw from: week-long, in-depth interviews and journaling sessions with 60 consumers (in the U.S., U.K., Mexico, France and Thailand) and an exhaustive quantitative exploration with 5,154 consumers across 10 countries in 2023.

The impacting actions help us look into our own value chain and production processes and challenge our portfolio and product innovation pipeline to actively solve the food waste problem.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Engage people, not respondents. Certain topics demand that we break away from the notion of panels, respondents and numbers and focus on engaging people in a conversation, especially when the topic is of economic significance.
  2. Sharing stories to an audience that relies of numbers. Data can convince, excite and challenge organizational change but insights come from stories. We want to share how we engaged with people to validate with numbers to trigger long-term action.
  3. Research is a long game. It needs to be treated as having short-, medium- and long-term potential, first with the challenging/insightful message and then with revisiting the research over the next six to 11 months to study the movement of the consumer, stress-testing your insight to reveal the evolving consumer’s disposition to the topic.


Shaili Bhatt

Senior Director, Online Qualitative Research

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