Pass the gravy...

| Emily Andrews
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In its partnership with UK-based charity, Contact the Elderly, Bisto, the Premier Foods-owned British gravy brand, capitalises on its association with traditional Sunday lunches and time spent with the family.

Together, the two organisations are launching an initiative titled Spare Chair Sunday, where people are invited to give a seat at their Sunday dinner to an elderly person who usually eats alone.

By encouraging families to invite strangers to share in their family meal, Bisto is cementing its reputation as a brand that brings people together. Its value is therefore perceived to be far more than if it was viewed simply as a food ingredient or stand-alone product. 

As a heritage brand, Bisto is a well-known product among older, as well as younger generations. This initiative is quite unique in its potential to span every generation; creating brand awareness in both young families - parents and children - and among elderly people.  

Spare Chair Sunday invites families to offer at least one spare chair a year to a person in need. It is hoped that this will help tackle the loneliness that can affect older people. According to a poll by Bisto and Contact the Elderly, a third of people over the age of 70 eat alone every day, and many feel lonely as a result. The research, conducted among 1,200 older people in the UK, also showed that Sunday can be the loneliest day of the week.

Helen Warren Piper, marketing director at Bisto, says, “We have had over 100 years of bringing people together around the dinner table, and continue to do so through the Bisto Together Project. Loneliness is a real problem in the UK and for older people specifically. The work that Contact the Elderly already does is proven to work and uplift the community as a whole.”

Countdown presenter, Rachel Riley, is acting as a spokesperson for the project. Piper says, “We have found a perfect partner in Contact the Elderly in driving forward our Together Project through the Spare Chair Sunday campaign and we are really excited to have Rachel’s backing. As Rachel says, hosting an older person at your home – whether it’s once, a few times or on many occasions during the year – has the potential to make a huge difference.”