The effects of climate change and the cost-of-living crisis are issues which dominate the global discourse. At the intersection of these two topics exists an unlikely battleground – The fight against household food waste. The client, an environmental NGO, wanted to understand daily household interactions with food waste caddies and turned to AI-powered research platform Bilendi Discuss to find the answers.  

Food waste is a pervasive issue. Globally, 1/3 of the food produced for humans is wasted. In the UK, ¾ of food discarded could have been eaten. Great changes are needed to meet the UN goal of halving per capita food waste by 2030.

The client is a leading climate action NGO, with a mission to increase sustainability. One of their flagship programmes is research and action on food waste. As consumer contexts and disposal infrastructures evolve, new opportunities to reduce food waste are created. One such opportunity is the humble food waste caddie.

Designed to help households collect waste as it happens and separate it from other forms of rubbish, the food waste caddy has become a fixture in many households. The client wanted to explore and understand the behaviours and attitudes surrounding the caddy system to ignite potential strategies to combat food waste.

Key research considerations to ensure accurate and real-time data included:

·        How to get close to the moment of usage and disposal

·        How to ensure engagement without creating biases

·        How to gain granular feedback about personal interactions from a large, multi-country sample

Bilendi & respondi, working with research agency SKIM, conducted 2-3 weeks of remote ethnography with caddy users in England, Wales and Austria using Bilendi Discuss, an AI-powered qualitative research platform.

Bilendi Discuss was chosen as it provided an ISO 20252 and GDPR-compliant service enabling participants to interact with researchers via a web portal or their preferred messaging platform on their mobile. Respondents could be recruited quickly without downloading an app, reducing recruitment barriers.

Throughout the first week, any moments the caddy was engaged with were shared via photos, text, or videos. Granular insights could be collected in the moment allowing us to get close to real-time behaviour, enhance engagement, and efficiently collect data and feedback from a larger sample of participants.

In the remaining weeks, open-ended opinions on the impact of the caddy, ideas on the solutions to food waste and reactions to messaging initiatives were shared. Bilendi’s Artificial Research Intelligence (BARI), the AI assistant built into Bilendi Discuss, could provide 24/7 moderation and instant human-level summary and analysis of verbatims, thereby drastically reducing the workload of the researchers.

As expected, simply tracking waste disposal led many participants to transform their thoughts and behaviours. Faced with the evidence of their food waste, they identified beneficial changes in their food shopping, preparation and usage habits.

The study also allowed the client to identify opportunities to drive change. These key opportunities included:

·       Broadening relevance and linking food waste with financial burdens

·       Reinforcing and creating touchpoints beyond the food caddy

·       Reducing psychological distance to create messaging that feels more concrete to trigger action and provide positive feedback

It is hoped that by empowering people to make small changes at home, larger changes for the global good can be enacted. That starts with efficient data collection.

To find out more about Bilendi Discuss and Bilendi’s Artificial Research Intelligence, and how they can be applied to your business, contact or visit our picnic table at the MAD//Fest Event.