The More Taste, Less Waste campaign is being run in partnership with the James Beard Foundation and some award-winning chefs to advance the conversation around food waste and to “inspire people to re-think the power of the oat to help recover foods that often go to waste”, said the company.
An average family of four leaves more than two million calories, worth nearly $1500, uneaten each year, according to the USDA and EPA. Over 130 billion pounds of food is lost or wasted every year in the US, and that is mostly nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables, dairy and grains.
“Food waste is an extremely powerful issue for Millennials, who take a very holistic view of food,” explained Jessica Spaulding, senior marketing director for Quaker Foods North America. “At Quaker, we’ve had an ongoing conversation with the James Beard Foundation, and the partnership seeks to drive the conversation around food waste forward.”
The #JustAddOats More Taste, Less Waste campaign is partnering with chefs like Marco Canora, the winner of the 2017 James Beard Foundation Award for “Best Chef: New York City”, who has created three oat-based recipes that rescue foods in a unique way: Beet "RisOATo," Oat and Apple Pancakes and Savory Oat Granola with Tomato Raisins (for more from Chef Canora, please watch the video at the end of the article).
“The chefs supporting our JBF Impact Programs have taken on the issue of food waste because it is inherent in a chef's DNA to minimize waste in their restaurants,” explained Kris Moon, vice president of the James Beard Foundation. “They are not only advocates for promoting a more sustainable food system. They have the knowledge and creativity around shopping, storing, and full utilization of food that allows them to turn seemingly ordinary foods into extraordinary dishes which we hope will inspire consumers across the country.”
The first food-specific health claim for oatmeal was approved by the FDA in 1997. The claim reads: "Soluble fiber from oatmeal as part of a low saturated fat, low cholesterol diet, may reduce the risk of heart disease." It still appears on qualifying Quaker Oatmeal cereals.
The company has also launched a boomer-focused campaign that hones in on specific health benefits linked to oats and important for this age group.
“For the boomer campaign, we’re educating about nutritional benefits around the power of something so small,” said Spaulding. “The three main benefits are: Heart health (which is most front of mind for Boomers; energy, and digestion,” she said. “Nobody disagrees that oats are healthy, but that’s something we haven’t communicated in a while.”
While oats remain strongly associated with breakfast, chefs and some companies like Grainful are increasingly exploring the potential of using oats for more savory applications.
“We’re definitely seeing chefs experimenting with oats for use as a risotto or in place of other grains,” said Spaulding. However, recent innovations from Quaker have stayed very much in the breakfast space. The company launched pre-packed Overnight Oats in May. “The early signs have been really positive,” she added. “It’s a much more convenient form.”