Felix Climate pop-up showed Swedish shoppers the true cost of their groceries
Prime Weber Shandwick won the ‘Retail / In-Store Experiential Brand Activation of the Year’ award at The Drum Awards for experience with his work for Felix (part of Orkla Foods Sweden). This innovative ephemeral store puts the environmental references of the supermarket at the forefront for customers. Here, the team behind that winning entry explains how it came to life.
Swedish food brand Felix wanted to communicate its sustainability credentials and commitment to tackling climate change by demonstrating how easy it is to make eco-friendly purchasing choices when groceries are available. clearly labeled with their respective carbon footprint.
In the middle of Stockholm’s shopping district, we built a Felix supermarket – The Climate Store (Klimatbutiken) – the world’s first grocery store where the listed “price” of each item was its carbon dioxide (CO2e) equivalent. Customers could only pay with a CO2e currency that we printed for the occasion, with each buyer given a ‘budget’ of 18.9 kg CO2e to spend – the maximum personal weekly allowance if we are to meet the targets. of the Paris Agreement 2030.
Customers loved the clear and practical message, and a final inventory showed items like Felix’s traditional meatballs remained on the shelves as newer herbal alternatives sold out. The concept sparked a social conversation, extending the discussion far beyond Sweden. Coverage has been picked up in international, national and environmental headlines in more than 30 countries, including CNN and the German news program Tagesschau. In December 2020, leading consumer trends company Trendwatching named Climate Store in its “21 for” 21 “list.
With over 95% spontaneous brand recalls for its 150 food products, from frozen meatballs to ketchup, Felix can be considered “the Heinz of Sweden”.
But recently, Felix had been left behind in the green food retailing business. As a safe, “everyday” brand, its products were not an obvious choice for climate-conscious buyers. Still, the company has had a great history – Felix has made long-term investments in a series of climate support measures, such as the innovation of carbon-friendly ready meals and the addition of “Low Climate Impact” labels. to the products. But the message was not reaching its largest demographic, 30-40 year olds with young children.
So our aim was to find a way to encourage Swedish buyers to see Felix as a profitable way to buy sustainably. However, this required a balanced approach: innovative enough to break into a market saturated with sustainable development, but practical enough to be a real help to busy families.
Ranking seventh in the world for environmental performance, and with nearly nine in 10 of its citizens saying they support stronger action on climate change, Sweden has comparatively high levels of environmental awareness.
However, there is some evidence that message fatigue increases. In particular, sustainability has become a very crowded space in the marketing of Swedish brands. Consumers report feeling increasingly tired of the constant messages from companies celebrating their environmental virtues.
We had to make sure that we weren’t just promoting Felix’s credentials in climate respect, nor lecturing people. We needed to do something practical and positive that would actually help consumers make the changes they want to make.
We conducted research from April to May 2020 to understand the day-to-day challenges of sustainable purchasing; interviews with six families on purchasing habits (photo diaries and virtual ‘home visits’), a quantitative survey of 1,500 Swedish consumers and interviews with five of Sweden’s leading experts in sustainability and consumer behavior .
The results told us that Felix’s demographics really wanted to buy climate-friendly food brands, but found the sustainability information too confusing and – perhaps as a consequence – felt that sustainable grocery shopping was too expensive.
Our strategy was clear: to give buyers better insight into the climate impact of Felix products and, in doing so, demonstrate how easy it is to make eco-friendly choices when products are clearly labeled. We called it The Climate Store (Klimatbutiken) – the world’s first grocery store in which the “price” of food is based on its carbon footprint.
Customers could tour this pop-up mini-market, assess the climate impact of different products, and “pay” at checkout using a specially printed carbon dioxide (CO2e) equivalent currency. Everything in the store would be priced only in CO2e and each customer would be assigned a purchase limit of 18.9kg of CO2e – the maximum personal weekly allowance if we are to meet the goals of the 2030 Paris Agreement. world would leave with a detailed receipt of its “purchases”, with prices in eq. CO2, to think about it later.
From scouting and designing branded materials, to shop dressing and operations, for four months, our integrated team handled it all. After finding the perfect space – in one of Stockholm’s busiest shopping streets – we started building the interior, researching and installing all the furniture, and custom-designed items.
Stock was the vital consideration: for a green campaign we couldn’t end up with food waste, but we also needed enough variety and volume to make it a ‘real’ shopping experience, including a balance between respectful of the environment and respectful of the environment. non-climate friendly to give our buyers dilemmas. Each refrigerator and shelf have been measured to ensure a full store at all times but minimal waste in the end, and we have made arrangements with local charities to collect any excess.
Our approach has focused on clear information. For the walls of the store, for example, we created orientation posters on the climatic tradeoffs that shoppers had to consider (for example, a steak = a whole bag of vegetables). New color-coded packaging for all products (brown / orange / green) indicated relative climate impacts, to help customers make better choices. And loaner iPads allowed shoppers to track how much they were “spending.”
Journalists received the weekly currency allocation in advance as well as an activation overview.
In the run-up to the October 1 launch, an important hurdle emerged: our two-day activation, the first of its kind, was to be open to businesses at a time when the country was starting to experience a wave of Covid-19 and put in implementation of significant restrictions. . Company health protocols meant pre-promotion, media invitations, and educational visits had to be reduced and limited us to 44 in-store visitors per day, but it allowed us to accompany each customer with their own personal shopper – representatives from our and Felix management team – to discuss the challenges of climate-friendly shopping.
In line with United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 13: Climate Action, with this campaign we sought to “improve education, awareness and human and institutional capacities on climate change” by making climate information practical and memorable.
Coverage and social
Despite restrictions on visitors, this small, local idea resonated around the world with coverage appearing in over 30 countries including China, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Russia, UK. and the United States; it was picked up by CNN and the German news program Tagesschau.
The store sparked a conversation on social media, with comments from buyers, influencers and the media extending the gossip far beyond Sweden.
The way that shoppers were presented with practical weather information has been repeatedly commented on as a brilliantly simple idea that people believe should be the norm in food retailing. Additionally, we have seen repeat visits – parents so impressed with the educational value of the concept that they returned with their children a second time.
As one buyer shared, “I didn’t expect this when I walked in. The visuals with the three different bags explained everything so well. I learned so much more than, say, a lecture.
The most telling real-world results came from the final inventory count. For example, no Felix product is valued more than its best-selling meatballs, but with customers being encouraged to make climate-value decisions, they have remained on the shelves, as new meatball alternatives Felix’s herbal products were depleted. Buyers had learned that the classic dish they had been eating since childhood might not, after all, be the best option for their own children’s future.
• 17% growth in sales of vegetarian products with the Q4 2020 climate label, YOY
• Global sales growth of 11% Q4 2020, YOY
In order to meet growing demand for its existing eco-friendly product lines and to launch new everyday eco-friendly Swedish favorites, the company is currently expanding the capacity of its production facilities.
Let the idea live
Another significant endorsement of the campaign came from Felix himself. Although the company originally viewed this as a one-time awareness raising initiative, the team was so pleased with the reality that they revised their 2021 plan (with more traditional marketing methods) and made more progress. interactive customer experience a cornerstone of its future. strategy: a digital version of the Climate Store, fully supported by social media, was launched at the end of spring 2021.
And in December 2020, TrendWatching, a leader in consumer trends, named The Climate Store to its international list of “21 Significant and Trend-Driven Opportunities for 2021”.
All of this suggests that our creative little idea, designed just to start changing the conversation around sustainable shopping at a store in Stockholm, may well have planted the seeds of a different future for food retailing.
This campaign won the Drum Awards for Experience. To learn more, including which contests are currently open for registration, visit the Drum Awards website.