Do you know how to keep spinach fresher for longer? A lot of shoppers probably don’t, one Australian grocer recently surmised—and so the retailer displayed a shopper tip alongside its bagged spinach, urging customers to cut open the bag once they get home and then put a paper towel in it to help absorb moisture.
Simple tips and “hacks” like these—how to slice a mango, how to ripen fruit at home, how to quickly truss a chicken—can help shoppers make the most of their grocery dollar at a time when consumer concern about food waste is high.
“In good economic times, people don’t like waste from a societal point of view,” 210 Analytics’ Anne-Marie Roerink says. “But in this day and age, there’s a massive incentive, and that is simply the financial pressure (of food waste).”
Social-media influencers have taken up the cause. One leading example: Barbara Costello (@brunchwithbabs), the 74-year-old retired preschool director who shares recipes and household hints with nearly 4 million followers on TikTok and 3 million on Instagram. The native Chicagoan, who bills herself as “everyone’s grandma,” has recently offered tips on everything from how to use an onion to clean a grill to how to prepare a week’s worth of make-ahead breakfast sandwiches—all geared toward helping Millennial-and-younger consumers save money and time. (She has also produced sponsored content for the likes of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls.)
“Stuff your grandma did—I think we are so back to some of those tricks,” 210 Analytics’ Roerink says. “I remember my mom drying the uneaten bread and making that into breadcrumbs for meatloaf—those kinds of tips are back.” With items like “ugly” produce or nearing-their-sale-date dairy or baked goods, it’s one thing to promote discounted pricing, she notes; it’s another to show consumers how they can take that item home and use it today—in banana bread or a smoothie or a French toast casserole, perhaps.
“Talk about tips that people can leverage at home,” she says. “Talk about fresh from the farm in one or two days and how you prevent food waste at home and all of the things that I am doing as a retailer to keep things fresh.”