State of Oregon Seeking Marketers To Help Preventing Wasting of Food

State of Oregon Seeking Marketers To Help Preventing Wasting of Food

The State of Oregon wants marketers to help communicate how to stop wasting food. An RFP we have received indicates they are seeking proposals from agencies with market research and messaging expertise to build a research- based messaging strategy for use in developing education and outreach materials to encourage people to reduce their wasting of food.

The work will involve the following three tasks:

  1. Conducting research to identify the messages and language most likely to motivate target audiences in Oregon to reduce wasting of food.
  2. Analyzing survey data and developing a messaging hierarchy that can be used to inform the development of campaigns and other outreach material to encourage consumers and businesses to reduce wasting of food.
  3. Working with a creative consultant (services to be procured separately) to implement messaging.


In 2012, the Environmental Quality Commission adopted Materials Management in Oregon: 2050 Vision and Framework for Action. The 2050 Vision serves as the State’s plan for achieving sustainable management of materials. While sustainable materials management includes traditional solid waste management, including waste recycling and composting, larger gains in sustainable management of materials will be achieved only when Oregon successfully prevents waste generation in the first place, and when systems of production and consumption change to reduce environmental impacts across the full life cycle of materials. For more details on the 2050 Vision, go to

From an environmental perspective, food is one of the most significant types of materials, and an estimated 25 to 40 percent of all food produced in the United States is never eaten. There are large environmental impacts associated with this food (among them, the resource and chemical use associated with food production and the GHGs generated across the entire life cycle of food, from production to disposal), and both the 2050 Vision and Oregon Global Warming Commission’s Interim Roadmap to 2020 identify food waste prevention as a priority for Oregon. DEQ distinguishes “prevention” (avoiding the wasting of food in the first place) from “recovery” (managing discarded food, for example through composting) and this distinction is important. According to the US EPA, while composting or anaerobic digestion of food scraps is preferable to landfilling in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, the benefits of prevention are seven to nine times higher for an average ton of food waste.

In addition, DEQ needs guidance on how to motivate food waste prevention behavior given that the public may already have deeply embedded opinions about effective responses to “food waste.” As noted above, prevention is far superior to recovery. But many Oregonians’ prior experience with food waste recovery programs (home composting, municipal food waste collection programs), coupled with a “waste” frame that has commonly been used to communicate about these issues, may be creating a perception or bias that makes it difficult for some to understand or embrace prevention. At the same time, DEQ supports both food waste prevention and recovery, while prioritizing the former over the latter, so wishes to develop messaging that does not undermine recovery, where appropriate.


The work will involve the following three tasks:

  1. The contractor will conduct research to identify the messages and language most likely to motivate target audiences in Oregon to reduce wasting of food. The research design should ensure that a representative sample of all Oregonians is reached. Ideally, the research will be able to identify demographic and regional differences (e.g., urban vs. rural, western vs. eastern, etc.), if any, among Oregonians. Data acquired as part of the research shall be the property of DEQ.
  2. The contractor will analyze survey data to identify effective language and messages as well as language to avoid. The contractor will identify demographic and/or regional differences, if any, apparent from the research among Oregonians. Building on this analysis, the contractor will develop a “messaging hierarchy” or “hierarchies” (if appropriate) that identify(ies) the messages (or combination of messages) that are most likely to motivate action, separately and in combination.
  3. The contractor will work with DEQ’s identified creative consultant to advise on the development of ads and other creative collateral to implement messaging. The creative consultant will be available to work with the contractor during the development of the messaging hierarchy.

Proposal due by November 10th, 2016

DEQ Headquarters Office

811 SW 6th Avenue

Portland 97204-1390

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