Over the course of your life, how much food do you think you've thrown away? 20 pounds? 50? 100? Chances are, like most Canadians, you're underestimating the answer. The average single-family household tosses over 440 pounds of food waste every single year. For Canada as a whole, that amounts to almost 2.2 million tonnes of edible food wasted each year; good food that gets tossed because we buy too much, cook too much or don’t store it correctly. And it even costs the average Canadian household over $1,100 per year.
During Halloween, food waste stats are even scarier. According to Statistics Canada, over 80,000 metric tonnes of pumpkins are produced annually in Canada — but we don't even eat most of them. Instead, we carve them, use them as decoration, and then toss them away. Hands up if you've done that.
But the good news is that the issue is solvable! Hellmann's Canada believes nothing is scarier than food waste and has teamed up with Second Harvest, Canada’s largest food rescue charity (they redistribute good food that would otherwise have gone to waste to food banks and other non-profits!), to help educate consumers this Halloween.
To get people thinking about food waste differently in a fun way, Hellmann’s has integrated their very own Halloween Island within Animal Crossing: New Horizons. The Island offers gamers an alternative, virtual Halloween experience as well as the chance to contribute to real-world change by converting their virtual food waste into real food for those in need.
#HellmannsIsland is coming back to #ACNH for Halloween. For each spoiled turnip visitors drop off, we'll donate a m… https://t.co/Lh1JRe6rBn— Hellmann's Canada (@Hellmann's Canada)1603227636.0
If you’re not familiar with Animal Crossing, here’s the low-down: in the game, there are different types of food that players can buy and sell for bells, a form of currency. Turnips are the most valuable food and can be purchased by players on the Stalk Market (get it?), but if you don’t sell your turnips in time, they spoil, leaving behind virtual food waste.
That’s where Hellmann’s comes in. This week, up until October 30, players can visit the island and drop off their spoiled turnips. For every turnip that players drop off to Hellmann’s Halloween Island, the company will donate a meal to Second Harvest, with an aim to provide 25,000 meals.
Hellmann's has also created some food-waste resources for gamers and non-gamers alike. Anyone can access their food waste tips and recipes and even a lookbook of scary, food waste themed costumes - like “Sad Jack-O’Lantern”, “Creepy Leftover Carrot” and “Spooky Fish Skeleton” - you can replicate this Halloween.
In fact, if you share a photo of said food waste-inspired costume on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #HellmannsIsland, you’ll be able to help out too. For every photo posted, Hellmann's will donate a real meal to Second Harvest, for an additional 1,000 meals.
Considering Halloween is going to look a bit different this year without the typical trick-or-treating or big Halloween parties, this is a fun alternative for families, gamers, and friends to enjoy the holiday safely while also doing some good at the same time.
This is the second time that Hellmann's has partnered with Second Harvest within Animal Crossing to give back. The island was actually created back in August (sans spooky Halloween decor, of course) and successfully distributed another 25,000 meals to individuals in need.
Since 2007, Hellmann's has been on the side of food with the introduction of The Real Food Movement, and most recently through Real Food Rescue which looks to address the issue of food waste in Canada. To date, Hellmann's has donated 127,250 meals through both the Real Food Rescue program and the original Animal Crossing initiative for Canadians in need, with 26,000 more to be provided via their latest Halloween Island.
By being resourceful and making small adjustments to our everyday lives like storing food so it stays fresh, using all the food we buy, and taking part in local initiatives like Second Harvest’s collaboration with Hellmann's Halloween Island on Animal Crossing, we can make a big difference!