Jul 8 2023

Can influencers solve the world’s food waste crisis?

Written by Orderly Marketing

You might be used to an influencer in their natural state on Instagram Live or working with a brand – but what if influencers could use their sway to drive change in sustainability?

We ponder on the back of a new study, where Unilever joined forces with Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) on the first study of its kind to find if influencers can inspire people to adopt better sustainability initiatives.

It surveyed 6,000 people from the UK, the US, and Canada and found influencers had more influence over 78% of people to make more sustainable choices than TV documentaries at 48%, news articles at 37%, and government initiatives at only 20%. Not only this, 83% said they use social platforms, such as Instagram and TikTok, to get inspired eco ideas and content, created with an emphasis on data and statistics, and the scale of the problem behaviour and its consequences, encourages 69% to act on new behaviours. 

Professor David Halpern, Chief Executive of the Behavioural Insights Team, said of one study:

“The behaviour change potential of social media is clear and the results show that there’s a huge opportunity, providing fertile ground for further exploration in this space.”

However, influencers are just part of the sustainability puzzle and ‘influencer fatigue’ may already be setting in, as shown in the EnTribe survey (2023) which revealed: 

  • 81% of people are either not affected or negatively affected by a brand’s use of influencers
  • 51% purposely scroll past influencer posts
  • Only 12% would be motivated by an influencer’s endorsement
  • 42% of those who had purchased a product because of an influencer regretted the decision.

Which is correct? The answer is, irritatingly, both – or none!

Food loss and waste management rely on many factors, three of which are awareness (influencers can help with this), education (expertise, scholarship, and robust industry knowledge are required), and adopting a new way of life (individual will is necessary for success) or resource management. But individuals need to determine what changes they can make and stick with. They may be inspired or burdened by influencers and their peers, but the choice is their own and the action must be their own.

Influencing relies on you

Influencing relies on the audience buying into an idea and then actioning that concept consistently and well. Food waste reduction, alongside other environmental sustainability practices, takes retraining of the brain and forming robust habits. 

If influencers can effect positive behaviour change for eco-initiatives in their followers, we are all onto a winner, but as usual, there’s no single answer to food waste. 

For businesses, it starts with the right decisions. We’ve recently been looking at the mandatory food waste reporting for big businesses, but regardless of size, there are plenty of things you can be doing to decrease food waste (and improve your profits while you do it!) 

The planet doesn’t care how humans come to reduce its carbon footprint and stop wasting its valuable resources. It just needs it done. 

If you manage a food and beverage business and you have been influenced to prevent/reduce food waste Orderly can help you achieve it with our F&B management technology. Get in touch with us now for more information.