Plushie toy in the shape of a sandwich with a cartoonish smiling face

Hellmann’s campaign hopes to safeguard the future of mayo

Mayonnaise, a key sandwich condiment, is in danger of disappearing – but not if Hellmann’s can help it

According to a recent study carried out by the NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business Analysis, by 2043 the price of mayonnaise may become so extortionate that it will no longer be an affordable condiment for the everyday consumer.

This is because the production of soy beans – one of the key ingredients in mayonnaise – is currently under threat due to mass soil erosion, which is in turn being driven by the ongoing climate crisis, animal agriculture, and unsustainable farming practices, to name but a few.

As a result, the iconic mayonnaise brand Hellmann’s has launched a campaign in the hope of spotlighting the issue. Led by VML, Save Our Sandwiches (S.O.S.) encourages fans of the brand to think of the sandwich recipes we stand to lose should we not make the needed changes to our lifestyles and businesses.

Plushie toys in the shape of sandwiches with a cartoonish smiling face
Hellmann’s adoptable sandwich plushies

These recipes include the famous BLT, the Egg Salad, the Italian Sub, and the Turkey Club. All of these, of course, require mayonnaise to be considered authentic.

After opening a pop-up sandwich shop with no ingredients – reflecting the potential future of sandwiches if nothing changes – the brand launched an appeal asking its audience to consider ‘adopting’ a sandwich. Successful applicants were placed in a draw to win a certificate and limited-edition plushie, just like the free toys that typically come with ‘adopt a dog’ initiatives.

Created in the image of the respective mayo-filled sandwich combinations, these cute characters serve as a reminder of what is at stake, and offer participants the chance to express their love for some of the world’s most iconic lunchtime snacks.

“The concept of ‘adopting’ a sandwich is a relatable way to educate and help people understand the risk of endangerment, which is why we thought to use this concept and invite our fans to help support their favourite mayo-centric sandwiches and demonstrate the positive impact regenerative agriculture could play in safeguarding the future of mayonnaise,” said Chris Symmes, senior marketing director of dressings at Unilever North America.

As of last autumn, Hellmann’s had already helped over 700 farmers in Iowa to combat the issue on their farms through a practice called cover cropping, which involves covering the land in plants year-round to protect against soil erosion and nutrient loss. Without such techniques, the equivalent of one football field of soil is lost every five seconds, according to the brand.

The campaign follows other buzzy activity for the brand in recent weeks, including a social-first stunt developed by Edelman inviting members of the public with the surname Heinz to legally change their name to Hellmans instead. So far, five people have taken part.