This pilot was a partnership with Kitche. Kitche is a free app designed to help users save money and reduce their food waste at home.
The aim was to demonstrate food waste behaviour change in Essex households via the Kitche app, and to demonstrate increased awareness about food waste in the Essex County area. Social media content was tailored from the data received from the app to help residents learn more about reducing food waste.
The pilot was aimed at any Essex resident over 18 years old with a smart phone. The current audience of the Kitche app is 75% women, and the predominant age range is between 35-50.
The key goal was to reach 3,000 app downloads amongst Essex residents and reach 100,000 residents via communication channels (social media, newsletter, adverts).
Planning started in March 2022, and the partnership officially launched in May 2022. The project ran until February 2023.
Kitche is a mobile app, and also an online platform. The pilot was promoted on social media channels, e-newsletters, print magazines and OOH (out of home) advertising at local supermarkets.
Who was involved in this project?
- Essex County Council (ECC) – Circular Economy team
- Kitche team
- Circular Economy Manager.
- BLUEPRINT Programme Communications Officer.
- Circular Economy Officers.
- Senior Designers.
- Kitche team members.
Other stakeholders involved
The 12 district, borough and city councils in Essex who included Kitche content in their newsletters, advertisements in their printed communications and shared our posts on social media.
Where was the project piloted and why?
Essex. The app is available for anyone to download in the UK. Data was collated and monitored for residents in statutory Essex (not including Southend and Thurrock). Some areas had higher level of promotion due to magazine and supermarket adverts: Basildon, Braintree, Castle Point, Colchester, Harlow and Maldon.
Why was the project created?
Why we did the project
Food waste is a real problem: it’s a waste of money, water, energy and it contributes to climate change. As food waste is very heavy, it is also very costly for ECC to dispose of. In Essex, 25% of residual waste is food waste, highlighting the importance of piloting activities to inspire residents to waste less food. Encouraging residents to download the Kitche app would give them the opportunity to keep track of what food they are buying and what food they are throwing away. App users would then see how much money they have wasted by throwing food away and the environmental impacts. In response, the aim was for residents to try to only buy what they need and eat what they buy.
Expected value to the circular economy
A reduction in food waste is hugely valuable. This reduces disposal costs for ECC, and it also reduces the amount of food waste in the residual stream being sent to landfill and letting off harmful greenhouse gases. Kitche also provides information about the waste hierarchy and encourages residents to recycle or compost their food waste if it cannot be eaten.
How was the project implemented?
- An initial discussion was set up with the Circular Economy Manager and the Kitche team to discuss how the partnership would work and what would be involved.
- Memorandum of understanding signed by both parties setting out clearly set out aims and objectives and the commitment required from both parties.
- Roles and responsibilities for team members were allocated.
- OASIS plan, campaign activity timeline, and budget plan were created.
- Branded assets were created by the Kitche team (including videos, tutorials, chef hacks, adverts, infographics and social media assets).
- Webpages, social copy and blog content were produced.
- Weekly meetings were set up within the Circular Economy Team, alongside fortnightly meetings with Kitche during the planning and implementation phase.
- Once up and running, team meetings were reduced to bi-weekly and monthly monitoring meetings with the Kitche team were set up to discuss the data and reports.
Cost and staff resource
- Committed to spend £4,500 as part of the partnership agreement.
- Topped this up to £10,000 in total, to cover: print adverts, OOH advertising, digital and social media advertising between May 2022 – February 2023.
- 3x FTE were needed to get the project up and running. Once out of the planning and implementation phase, staff time is greatly reduced.
- The app is free for residents to download.
This project was run as a pilot under the wider remit of reducing food waste in Essex in which the project team are able to make decisions on how the budget is allocated.
The data remained in the ownership of Kitche and subscribers to the app, would agree to Kicthe terms and conditions.
Any competitions followed the rules for ECC and were compliant.
Kitche provide fortnightly reports that included:
- total app downloads
- active users
- number of products imported
- number of products tossed
- communications summary
- a breakdown of items being thrown away (toss percentages)
- any issues and actions to be taken
Google analytics and Fathom Analytics were used to monitor visits to the webpage, the click rate of Kitche articles in e-newsletters are monitored as part of the newsletter monthly reports, and all Kitche social media adverts are monitored to track engagements and impressions.
Results so far (as of 20 September 2022) include:
- 816 app downloads (27.2% of our goal, with 5 months to go)
- reach of print advertisements: approx. 173,000
- Essex Wildlife Trust magazine: 38,000
- Braintree Recycling Calendar: 61,000
- Friends of Broomfield Hospital magazine: Unknown
- Harlow Times magazine: 38,000
- Essex Explorer magazine: 36,000
- 159,202 impressions on social media
- 15,566 engagements on social media
- YouTube ads have so far received 68,689 impressions and 20,112 views (29.28% view rate)
- 366 webpage views on Love Essex and BLUEPRINT websites
The strengths of the pilot have been:
- regular meetings and reports were helpful
- the data in the reports was used to create tailored content about the most wasted food items and to provide targeted information to residents.
The weaknesses of the pilot have been:
- a lot of time and money has gone into various advertising and promotions but unfortunately it hasn’t translated into app downloads. However, it has generated traffic to our website and social media accounts, and hopefully the awareness of reducing food waste has increased.
- there are also lots of other apps that residents find useful such as ‘Too Good To Go’
- Users being unsatisfied with the app.
- Not meeting targets.
- Technical glitches with the app.