Food Collective

Unilever Food Solutions

Unilever logo in white

A powerful cause-marketing loyalty campaign that broke through all the barriers of an intermediated market.

Unilever Food Solutions sells quality food ingredients to the hospitality industry, made of up 80,000 restaurants, cafes, pubs, clubs, caterers, aged care and healthcare venues across Australia and New Zealand.

What we achieved

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Direct relationship with their customers and valuable sales data

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200,000 meals have been provided to Aussies in need


The Challenge

Unilever Food Solutions (UFS) recognised they wanted to increase their social impact and create a direct and meaningful relationship with their customers. However, operating in an intermediated market meant that they lacked significant visibility as they did not transact with their customer directly. Yet they were desperate to reach and influence customers in order to grow.

UFS wanted to create a campaign to convey the purpose and provide a strong reason for customers to connect directly with them. The key to reach and gather customers was to create a campaign concept with a strong message and purpose that would be very relatable, shareable and media worthy.


The Solution

Through research, we found that food waste was a significant issue in the foodservice industry. On behalf of UFS, we discovered that the industry was throwing away at least 40% of food purchased for service, which represents approximately 24% of their turnover.

Despite these large figures, over two million Australians were still relying on food relief every year. We decided that UFS needed to partner up with a relevant not-for-profit organisation that had a common purpose and agenda.

OzHarvest, founded in 2004, were the ideal choice. They do amazing work in the area of food rescue and food redistribution and supply to more than 800 charities around Australia.

OzHarvest had been picking up food from over 2,000 commercial outlets – however, these were mainly made up of supermarkets. The significant waste produced in the foodservice industry was an untapped opportunity for the charity.

UFS’ role was to be the informant and provide content on how a hospitality business could become more efficient and reduce the cost of food waste. OzHarvest was presented to UFS as a solution to surplus food that was being produced.

The result was a plan to build a multifaceted loyalty program called Food Collective that raised much-needed funds for OzHarvest. Given that OzHarvest is a lifeline for people in need, we knew UFS had to approach our creative execution with respect and dignity.

The tone of voice for the campaign needed to be informative, thought-provoking and inspirational. The promotional messaging needed to speak directly to the target audience from economic and human-centric levels. The campaign provided multiple ways a customer could engage in this initiative, beyond just a financial contribution.

RAISE – Customers raised money via a purchase-for-donation mechanic. One case of product equalled one meal donated to someone in need.

RESCUE – Customers surplus food would be rescued by OzHarvest and redistributed to charities.

REWARD – Customers were rewarded with loyalty points for their support, which they could use to redeem for rewards.

The partnership allowed us to create positive brand associations with OzHarvest and UFS and provide a holistic solution to the hospitality industry.

Food Collective infographic

Customers interacted with a dedicated campaign microsite, supported by our SaaS Loyalty Portal, which played an integral role in capturing customer profile and sales data. Through this platform, customers saw their accrued points, how many meals they had donated and the pool of rewards they could claim from.

The rewards pool was carefully curated by our team. From personal items like technology and gadgets to rewards for kitchen staff and waste saving solutions – we enticed the audience and made sure they felt rewarded for their efforts.

During the program, a 12-month communication plan was heavily geared towards gaining sign-ups, coupled with an onboarding campaign to ensure customers engaged with the program over the long-term. Sign-ups were gained by leveraging earned media, which included a media launch event that was attended by industry publications, bloggers and influencers.

A planned and executed digital marketing and content strategy ensured that we drove a substantial amount of traffic to UFS’ campaign microsite. UFS’ sales team were also well equipped with branded t-shirts, brochures and an incentive for sign-ups.


Food Collective created loyalty but more importantly an emotional connection between UFS’ customers and their brands. UFS now have a direct relationship with their customers, as well as valuable sales data that allowed them to make better business decisions.

The cause marketing component hit the mark with customers and the industry rallied around what UFS was trying to achieve. Food Collective was recognised as the ‘Most Innovative Project’ in the industry and donated over 200,000 meals to Aussies in need.

"Thank you for yet again a fantastic effort - with the right planning and preparation and excellence in execution. I know that we would not have been able to pull this off without Incremental."

Yezdi Daruwalla

Unilever Food Solutions Australasia
Managing Director

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