Heinz uses Fortnite to educate gamers on the importance of healthy soil

The introduction of ‘S.O.S Tomatoes Island’ to Fortnite aims to spotlight the world’s declining soil standards, in the hopes of turning things around.

In its latest foray into gaming, Heinz has put the world’s declining soil health at the forefront of a partnership with Fortnite.

The campaign hopes to put a spotlight on the importance of soil for growing healthy tomatoes – an essential part of the food processing company’s famous ketchup.

It’s estimated that 95% of the food we eat is directly or indirectly produced in soils and according to environmental experts in conversation with Heinz, our soils are at risk of totally degrading for future generations.

To drive awareness, Heinz and esports experts, Druid Gaming, have created a new island accessible within the first-person shooter game Fortnite, inspired by Heinz tomato growers’ farms and with a ‘shrinking safe zone’ designed to degrade 33% faster than the game’s standard ‘Fortnite Battle Royal’ and ‘Zero Build’ islands.

The initiative is calling out an S.O.S to the game’s largely younger audience, asking players for help changing soil’s current course and ensuring it’s not game over for Heinz’ tasty tomatoes and other food.

Cristina Kenz, Chief Growth and Sustainability Officer for Heinz, said: “When it comes to Heinz, it all starts with our delicious tomatoes, that’s why we’ve committed to have 100% sustainably grown tomatoes for ketchup globally by 2025. Through this commitment, we are building better soils that will not only feed our unique tomatoes but have the potential to help store carbon, an important pillar in our roadmap to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

“We can all play a part, quite literally, to protect our soil and the delicious food that grows from it.”

Learning lessons through gaming

Players will be able to experience Heinz’ tomato growing journey in the game, designed to teach users about the fundamental role soil plays in our food systems.

Starting in greenhouses that house infant tomato plants, which are then transplanted into fields where they grow into mature tomato plants, the island demonstrates some of the sustainable and regenerative practices that Heinz supports in the real world such as cover cropping, crop rotation and maintaining soil cover.

Playing in the virtual world will also have a positive impact in the real one, with Heinz committing to help protect an extra 13.5Mm² of soil – more than 1600 football pitches – as part of the initiative.

Put together by creative agency GUT São Paulo, the campaign is supported with a multichannel marketing plan utilising earned, paid and owned channels. A tease phase with some of the biggest names on Twitch streaming a preview of the new island was released ahead of the consumer launch on March 16.

The Heinz S.O.S. Tomatoes island will be available to access by entering code ‘1877-1435-6432’ on the island code page found on Fortnite’s “Discover” screen.