A new food waste awareness video entitled “Questions” pokes fun at all the ways the consumers are complicit in the problem. “Why don’t we have anything to eat?” One woman asks her husband while throwing out bunch of spoiled bananas. “Is this even sushi anymore?” Her husband adds after discovering a moldy container in back of the refrigerator. “Why do we have fuzzy rocks in our fridge?”
Interspersed between those scenes are other outrageous moments of bad behavior from shoppers at a farmers market and diners at a nice restaurant. Each has an over-the-top query including whether or not some foods are pretty enough to be Instagram-worthy.
The big reveal is, of course, a bigger question that flashes across the screen: “If we ask so many questions about our food, shouldn’t we ask why 40% of it goes to waste?” But the company that wants you to think more about that is actually food-seasoning giant: Morton Salt.
This is just one aspect of Morton Salt’s “Erase Food Waste” campaign which has a dedicated website filled with little socially sharable morsels, everything from tips on how to shop and organize your fridge, to recipes for how to use food preparation leftovers in new ways (kale stems and spare greens pesto, veggie-scrap soup stock, and “Winter Panzanella ‘Bread Salad'”). There’s even a seven day challenge to try this out and pull everything together.
After all, the holiday season is a time of massive food wastage, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council, a food conservation nonprofit. For Morton, though, the effort marks the chance to continue to connect their 170-year-old brand with younger shoppers who make purchases based on both a company’s values and its products. In the case of food waste, there’s even a nicely saleable tie-in. “With salt’s long history of preserving food, and as the leading salt company in the world, who better than Morton to embrace [the fight against] food waste,” says Morton’s chief marketing officer Denise Lauer in an email to Fast Company.
The campaign also ties into the brand’s newish slogan of “Walk Her Walk,” a reference to the positivity of its iconic umbrella-carrying Morton Salt Girl mascot, who ventures undaunted into the rain. The company debuted that slogan in a rather hip way that telegraphed its commitment to social good initiatives toward the end of 2016. Last November, Morton collaborated with pop-rock band OK Go to create “The One Moment,” a music video with veiled references to five causes groups to which the company also gave donations.
The video centers on an elaborate sequence of events that happen over a just a few seconds, When replayed in super slow motion, it becomes clear how everything is interconnected. The end credits show an image of the Morton Salt Girl and the message: “It only takes one moment to make a difference. Help brighten the world.”
To be fair, the connections of the video to various related cause groups–Music Unites, Thirst Project, ProjectArt, Happy Org, and GirlForward–are extremely subtle. But the campaign was designed as a springboard to get readers to explore more about the company’s new shift. Morton gave $415,000 total to those groups.
This time, the company is changing things up internally too. “This is not the flavor of the month,” says Morton CEO Christian Herrmann, who notes that the company donated 500,000 pounds of its own food waste, mostly unsellable salt that was leftover during production or from discontinued products, to Feeding America and a few other nonprofits in 2017. Morton has also pledged to eliminate all food waste from both its operations and offices entirely by 2030. “This is really a multi-year commitment for us to invest and also to showcase that we mean it when we say, ‘Walk Her Walk.'”
In the meantime, those waste-salvage recipes all suggest at least one key ingredient: a sprinkle of Morton Sea Salt.