Launching FoodRescue.ca in BC to address food waste, climate change and hunger

 

Second Harvest, Canada’s largest food rescue organization, has been helping to address avoidable food loss and waste for over 34 years, rescuing over 140 million pounds of healthy food and preventing 128 million pounds of greenhouse gases from entering our atmosphere. Having seen the success in Ontario of FoodRescue.ca, an innovative online platform that connects food businesses with surplus food directly with local social services that feed people in need, Second Harvest decided to expand the platform to help food businesses and non-profits in BC’s Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island.

THE CHALLENGE

While Second Harvest gained exposure through its Avoidable Crisis of Food Waste report which details the issues of food waste in Canada, and its other initiatives in Ontario, the organization’s new, online platform, FoodRescue.ca, was a relatively new initiative that launched late in 2018. In order to encourage a high volume of donor and recipient registrations to the platform in BC, Second Harvest needed to create a compelling call to action and to demonstrate the benefits associated with addressing food waste for both businesses and the general public, through top quality media coverage.

THE STRATEGY

Yulu developed a communications strategy that led with the issues of food waste, greenhouse gas emissions, and food insecurity in Canada, positioning FoodRescue.ca as a simple solution to these linked issues. Our tailored messaging centred around benefits to the community, the environment, and businesses looking to be more responsible in their food disposal practices. Yulu’s strategy leveraged Second Harvest’s reputation as an expert in addressing food waste through thought leadership and opinion pieces. Based on the insight that FoodRescue.ca uses a hyper-local approach to connect donors and recipients, the media outreach strategy included not only top tier outlets but also local media across the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island. Following the launch, Yulu continued to promote the platform expansion by sharing regular impact updates with media including the amount of food rescued since the launch, and the growing number of organizations signing up.

RESULTS & IMPACT

Within a month of launching, FoodRescue.ca’s expansion was covered in 89 outlets across print, online, TV and radio, including top tier media such as Global News, News1130, DailyHive, The Lynda Steele Show, and The Province; 17 local media titles including Victoria News, Surrey Now Leader, and Abbotsford News; and food industry titles including RestoBiz, EatNorth and Food in Canada. All coverage referenced not only the benefits to businesses, society, and the environment, but also focused on the simplicity of registration and donation, encouraging businesses to sign up. In the first month alone, FoodRescue.ca facilitated the donation of over 2,500lbs of food.