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Hellmann's makes public appeal to prevent 'extinction' of mayo: 'A relatable way to educate'

"We hope to see fans rallying behind the work we're doing."

"We hope to see fans rallying behind the work we're doing."

Photo Credit: iStock

Hellmann's, famous for mayonnaise and its beloved Mayo Cat, has made an unexpected revelation: according to the company, four popular sandwiches have become endangered species, Sustainable Brands reports.

Or at least the mayo — a key ingredient in the BLT, turkey club, Italian sub, and egg salad sandwich — is threatened by the advancement of environmental damage and rising global temperatures.

Hellmann's mayo is made with soybeans. Soybeans need healthy, fertile soil to grow in. However, according to Sustainable Brands, that soil is eroding away in the United States at a rate of about one soccer field per second, threatening America's ability to grow food.

Sustainable Brands further explained that by 2043, we might not have the farmland needed to grow soybeans. That means no more mayo — a product that two-thirds of sandwich lovers like, with 95% of Americans saying they enjoy sandwiches.

To take a stand against erosion, Hellmann's pledged $30 million over the next five years to help farmers in Iowa, including by planting cover crops. "Cover crops" are plants that are sown to help hold the soil in place and replenish its nutrients rather than being intended for harvest. The brand had already funded 700 farms to sow cover crops on 142,000 acres by the fall of 2023, but the new program would expand that effort, according to the Hellmann's press release. 

To raise further awareness about the problem, Hellmann's offered customers the chance in April to "adopt" one of the endangered sandwiches in plushie form, in the same way you can adopt endangered animals. Though the program has closed, participants got a certificate of adoption, a Hellmann's coupon, and a chance to win larger prizes, including a sandwich plushie, in a creative method to entice customers to support an eco-friendly initiative.

"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," said Chris Symmes, senior marketing director for dressings at Hellmann's parent company, Unilever. "... We hope to see fans rallying behind the work we're doing to preserve the taste of mayonnaise, reduce the risk of extinction, and advocate to help farmers protect their soil — so sandwiches can have that deliciously creamy bite of mayo for years to come."

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