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Consumers May Love Your Brand's Mission But That's Not Why They Buy from You — Here's What You Should Focus On Instead Don't fall into this strategic trap.

By Kim Kavin Edited by Frances Dodds

This story appears in the May 2024 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Will people buy cheap food to help save the planet? The answer is yes — and no.

This was the idea behind Flashfood, an app-based marketplace that aims to divert food away from landfills, and to families in need. It collects food nearing its best-by date, places it in refrigerators at more than 2,000 grocery stores, then sells the food to users at a discount. Since launching in 2016, it's diverted more than 90 million pounds of fresh food and saved shoppers more than $200 million.

But when chief customer officer Jordan Schenck began listening closely to customers a while back, she heard a disconnect. Flashfood's marketing and branding were all mission-oriented — with a leaf logo to signal sustainability, and phrases like "Help us reduce food waste" splashed across their fridges. "But when we got into the why of people buying the product, it was actually — 'Hey, I saved $2,000 on groceries, and I was able to fix my roof or get my kid school supplies as a single mom,'" Schenck says. "It wasn't, 'I took 900 miles of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.'"

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