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14 November 2023

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Using thermochromic ink, jars of Hellmann's mayo show people if their fridge is running warm

As part of Food Waste Action Week, Hellmann's is testing new labels for its jars of mayonnaise. Printed with thermochromic ink, which changes color based on temperature, the labels indicate whether a fridge is cool enough to keep food fresh.

Prototype jars were sent to Hellmann's fans, food waste campaigners and influencers in the UK last week to raise awareness about food waste. The labels feature a colorful design by illustrator Ellen Porteus, with a hidden layer that only appears below 5°C.

The Unilever brand explains that some foods can last up to 3 days longer in a fridge set below 5°C (versus 7°C). According to climate action campaigner WRAP, the average refrigerator in the UK is set at least 2°C too warm. No word yet on whether Hellmann's will extend its trial into a full rollout in supermarkets.

Trend Bite

Setting a refrigerator to a lower temperature is an easy way to tackle food waste. But either people aren't aware, or the fact flutters by without being converted into action. By turning a mayonnaise jar into a thermometer, Hellmann's presents information right where it needs to be, removing any potential friction between learning about the 5°C threshold and adjusting a fridge's temperature.

Visual cues help change behavior. Which tiny yet meaningful hack could you integrate into your product or packaging, ensuring it reaches customers at the opportune time and place?

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