The death of the sniff test?

March 10th 2023 By Liam Gullis 2 minute read

I’m sure we’ve all found ourselves rifling through the fridge like a pig on the hunt for truffles — sniffing condiments and thinking, will this make me frightfully ill or add a whole new dynamic to my largely beige meal?

This game is actually more dangerous than you’d think, as millions of UK fridges are operating at temperatures that are too warm, which inevitably causes food to spoil faster – at least according to the accompanying research of this clever campaign by Ogilvy and Hellmann’s. 

In a bid to address the pressing issue of food wastage, this widely-recognised household brand has created a ‘Smart Jar’ which displays unique illustrations and messages when the fridge temperature is below 5℃.

Designed by Ellen Porteus, a vibrant illustrator who has collaborated with an impressive roster of global brands, Hellmann’s has incorporated this design as part of its ‘Make Taste Not Waste’ approach – motivating more than 200 million people globally to make use of their leftovers.

Amidst the pace of everyday life, losing track of sell-by dates is all too easy, while keeping an up-to-date inventory of your fridge is surprisingly difficult – let alone keeping tabs on your fridge temperature. Innovative designs like this then could hold the answer for reducing food waste, which in turn will benefit the entire global food system.

Now I'm not saying Hellmann’s have made that much of a splash with this campaign, however, it does represent the wider issue, which we must all consider if we want any hope of a sustainable future.

When I came across this campaign, it reminded me of university. Not the copious amount of questionable food in my fridge (ok, maybe a little bit), but the label on a Coors Light beer bottle, which utilised thermochromic ink to create a cold activated bottle which indicates when it’s ready for drinking. 

Although beer waste typically isn’t as much of an issue (wasn’t in my case anyway), this again, highlights the power of creative packaging and the impact it can have on consumer behaviour – but in this case it's saving the planet, whilst banishing the sniff test, and not just signalling the prime time to crack open a cold one. 

I was shocked to find out that around 8-10% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions relate to food waste, so the magnitude of this issue can’t be understated.

I’m hopeful that this technique becomes a more common practice as to be quite honest, if I saw the word ‘amazing’ on my mayonnaise jar when I opened the fridge, it would bring a smile to my face. And what could be a better way to start the day then that when I look to get cracking with breakfast?

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