We’ve all been in a similar predicament: You’re a guest at a fun gathering (say, a Super Bowl party), and as everyone is getting ready to leave, the host begs you to take some leftover food.
“Please,” they implore, pushing a hodgepodge of chips, dips, and snacking cheeses into your arms. “I’m just going to throw it away if you don’t take it.”
This sort of food waste is exactly what Hellmann’s is trying to mitigate with its “Big Game” campaign this year.
As it turns out, that major football game (you know, the one with Taylor Swift’s boyfriend), is one of the largest food waste occasions of the year, with over 140,000 pounds of extra food accumulated from official events and stadium snacking.
And that doesn’t even account for the food your friends are tossing out after your at-home watch parties, or what gets lost to full bellies at bars and restaurants across the country.
Plus, that food coma feeling from a big night of snacking and gathering is also fuel to call out from work. According to a poll from the UKG Workforce Institute, an estimated 16.1 million U.S. employees will miss work on the Monday following the big game.
With that in mind, Hellmann’s has decided to put a spin on this notorious sick day and declare a new holiday: Sick of Food Waste Day, which takes place on February 12 of this year.
Hellmann’s has a long history of combating food waste and food insecurity, and this year is no different. The brand will donate $100,000 to Food Recovery Network, one of the largest student-led movements fighting food waste to end hunger in America.
Plus, team members from both Hellmann’s and FRN will be on the ground in Las Vegas to “rescue surplus food” from major Super Bowl event Player’s Tailgate. From there, they’ll donate extra food to The Just One Project, a local organization working to provide food to people in southern Nevada.
“We are thrilled to partner with Hellmann's to fight food waste and support those who don't have enough food to eat,” Regina Anderson, the executive director of the FRN, said in a statement.
“44 million people are unnecessarily facing food insecurity right now, while more than 42 million tons of food goes to waste each year. Fighting food waste can happen at large events like this and in lots of other locations like our schools, our conferences, and our homes.”
At last year’s game in Glendale, Arizona, FRN diverted 2,907 pounds of food — the equivalent of of 2,432 meals.
The Sick of Food Waste Day initiative comes in tandem with the mayonnaise brand’s mid-game ad, which features Kate McKinnon and a beloved “Mayo Cat.”
Ultimately, all of these efforts aim to encourage fans to “Make Taste, Not Waste” and share posts to TikTok and Instagram Reels, repurposing their leftovers into new recipes.
“After the big game, millions of people call out sick. We felt that this was an opportunity to drive buzz and awareness by marrying the fact that people are taking the day off from work and what they could be doing to create positive social impact in their own homes by reducing food waste,” Unilever’s senior director of marketing, Chris Symmes, told The Cool Down.
To up the ante, users who share posts with the hashtag #SickOfFoodWasteDay (and #Sweepstakes), while tagging @hellmannsmayonnaise, will even have a chance to win a trip to next year’s game in New Orleans.
The winner will also help the company with next year’s food recovery efforts with partners at the Food Recovery Network.
Even before Sunday’s game, the ad campaign seems to be resonating.
“This has to blow up honestly,” a TikTok commenter wrote under Hellmann’s ad, featuring McKinnon. “Best ad of this year so far.”
“Have I been influenced to switch mayo brands?” another person added. “Yes, yes, I have.”
And on Instagram, someone shared their enthusiasm for the new holiday with a show-stopping pun: “An aMAYOzing message!”
At the end of the day, Anderson, from FRN, hopes audiences take away the main message: “We all have the power to ensure perfectly good food doesn't go to waste.”
Header image courtesy of Hellmann's