Is pester power the key to a greener future? Poll finds nearly two thirds of parents have been asked by their children to be more environmentally friendly

10 October 2019

Is pester power the key to a greener future? Poll finds nearly two thirds of parents have been asked by their children to be more environmentally friendly

Toy and video game manufacturers have long taken advantage of so-called ‘pester power’ for commercial gain. But a new poll has shown it could also be crucial for a greener future, with nearly two thirds of parents saying their child has asked them to make changes so their household is more environmentally friendly [1]

This generational shift in attitudes is also demonstrated by the fact that 60% of respondents said their child has a greater level of concern about environmental issues than they did when they were a child themselves. But parents don’t want to leave it there - 81% of parents believe that society should be doing more to educate children and young people about the importance of reducing food waste in particular.

The new data follows the conclusion of a successful nationwide summer holiday campaign by Company Shop, the leading redistributor of surplus food, drink and household products. The Surplus Super Heroes campaign aimed to inspire the next generation about the importance of reducing food waste.

Over the six-week school holiday period, almost 60,000 Surplus Super Hero themed goody bags were collected by children visiting Company Shop superstores in Barnsley, Grimsby, Middleton, Corby, St Helens and Washington. The goody bags included booklets which introduced a new Surplus Super Hero each week, demonstrating how some unusual products are still good to eat - from Polly the Still Perfect Peach to Ollie the Oversized Onion.

Each Surplus Super Hero served to educate and entertain children shopping at the superstores during the summer break, whilst enabling their family members to continue to access the high-quality, low-cost surplus food and products on offer and stretch their family budgets further.
The pioneering campaign was another example of Company Shop’s ongoing work under WRAP’s Courtauld Commitment 2025 to reduce food waste.

Jane Marren, Group Managing Director of Company Shop and Community Shop, said:
 
“We know that the children of today will be the consumers of tomorrow, so it’s great to see how young people are taking these issues so seriously. 
 
“But we also know that so much more needs to be done, which is why our Surplus Super Hero campaign has educated and inspired the next generation of shoppers to do more to protect our planet. 
 
“The environmental challenges we face as a society today, including the millions of tonnes of food still needlessly going to waste, require a whole society effort, and we are proud to be playing our part.” 
 
 
Helen White, Special Advisor – Household Food Waste, WRAP said:

“Food waste is a key priority for the food and drink sector. Preventing food waste at source should always come first, but surplus arises for a number of reasons; organisations such as Company Shop do a great job in ensuring it is put to good use. 
 
“This campaign helps families to understand more about redistribution in a fun way – an over-sized onion is still good to eat, so are baked beans with a slightly different label. With 10.2 million tonnes of food wasted across the supply chain and from our homes every year in the UK, Company Shop and the Surplus Super Heroes have made it their mission to ensure surplus food ends up in bellies, not bins!”

Isabelle, aged 9, said:

“I really enjoyed collecting all the different surplus super hero goody bags over my summer holidays. Polly the Still Perfect Peach was my favourite super hero and the booklets had loads of different fun activities and puzzles to complete. I enjoyed learning about where food comes from and where it goes if it isn’t eaten.”
 
Lynne, parent of a child who took part in the successful summer campaign in the St Helens store said: 

“My daughter loved picking up a new surplus super hero goody bag each time she came in store with me as I did our weekly shop. The booklets were filled with entertaining activities and I was really impressed with how informative, accessible and engaging the information was around food waste and protecting the environment. It was a great way to keep her entertained and learning, particularly with it being the school summer holidays!”

[1] *Respondents who said neither agree or disagree have been excluded from the report.

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