The height of good taste

28. September 2021, MAXFIVE

Convenience food here, fast food there. And right in the middle, the customer – surrounded by ready-to-eat food at every turn – at a loss when it comes to shopping and cooking from scratch. Totally unsure how to keep their carbon footprint in check and lead a somewhat sustainable lifestyle, for that matter. And above all: having no idea how to cook something sensible using all those ingredients. All it takes to point them in the right direction is a sack of potatoes and a show kitchen.


customer loyality

Coming to terms with it all

Words that sounded like something from a galaxy far, far away not so long ago, have now entered our everyday vocabulary: climate change, zero waste, convenience food, greenwashing, carbon footprint, sustainability . Each of these terms comes with its own rules, recommendations, to dos and must dos.

Making life in our supermarkets pretty complicated in the process. Things start to really heat up when you forget your shopping list – but you probably didn’t have a clue what to cook for the week anyway. And there’s the pressure to go for seasonal produce with the smallest possible environmental footprint. On top of that, everyone seems to be looking down their noses at meat these days, too. And what are you supposed to cook in the depths of winter? Pickled cabbage and nut roast? And all of this before we even get to the issue of plastic. Add it all up, and it’s easy to see why customers can get so overwhelmed.

The problem

A third of all food produced globally – 1.3 billion tonnes in all – ends up being thrown away. Starting with EU-compliant cucumbers and ending with our own kitchen bins.  In the EU, annual food waste totals around 180kg per person. The issue is not necessarily overconsumption per se, or unrealistic perceptions of what our food should look like and how long we can keep it for. In fact, it all boils down to uncertainty. It would be great for the environment and household budgets if people would simply go out and buy precisely what they need to conjure up a whole range of different meals for the week – without tossing anything in the trash or ending up only using a couple of servings out of a giant container. The Austrians, though, are past masters at cooking leftovers.


The solution

“Talking brings people together” as the popular Austrian saying goes, and communication is an important part of the way out of this mess. Showcooking has always been like catnip for customers here, not just since the climate crisis started to dominate the headlines. As popular as samples are, sharing information is the real recipe for success. Live and direct.

So how about a spot of live zero-waste showcooking in our supermarkets? With one of the most ubiquitous ingredients found in these parts: the potato. Do you know what you can do with a humble potato? No? Well, we bet your customers don’t either. Gratin, soup, goulash, fritters. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Scraps can be put to good use, too: a slice of potato soaks up unpleasant refrigerator odours, soothes sunburn when placed on skin, or, after boiling, can be used as a compress to provide relief from sore throats, coughs, headaches and muscular tension .

Odd bits of potato and peel can also be transformed into delicious crisps with little effort. Dried potato peel can also be used as kindling to light a fire.

So you see, besides promoting interaction with customers…

…live showcooking can also be a way to earn karmic brownie points: for the climate, for a more sustainable home life, for broadening your horizons in the kitchen, and for a sustainable, seasonal and local approach to shopping – much to the delight of farmers in the region. But it doesn’t stop with potatoes: do you know what you can do with a humble apple?

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