Progress made by retailers & brands in helping people buy the right amounts of food, and to make better use of the food they buy.
Around 2 million tonnes of food is thrown away from households due to ‘not being used in time’, and for a third of this, the date label is cited as a factor. Giving consumers longer to make use of the food they buy has the potential to significantly reduce household food waste.
- The report identifies where further action is required, which will inform activity under the Courtauld Commitment 2025 to reduce household food waste
- Changes to products and labelling could help prevent £1 billion a year of food from being wasted
- Good progress has been made in some areas (simplifying date labelling and updating freezing advice) but there is much more that can be done
Helping Consumers Reduce Food Waste – Retail Survey 2015 highlights good progress made by retailers in a number of areas:
Simplification of date labelling, with fewer than 3% of packs displaying more than one date (such as a ‘Display Until’ date used in combination with either ‘Use By’ or ‘Best Before’, which shoppers find confusing);
Two high-volume products (hard cheese and pasteurised fruit juice) moving away from predominantly carrying ‘Use By’ to overwhelmingly carrying ‘Best Before’ dates; and
Many products moving away from ‘Freeze on day of purchase.’
Priorities for future action by retailers and manufacturers include:
Reviewing the choice of date mark on products that currently carry a ‘Use By’ date, and moving to a ‘Best Before’ where there is not a food safety risk;
Reviewing both the ‘closed’ and ‘open’ life set for products that are commonly thrown away unused;
Continuing to implement WRAP and Food Standards Agency guidance on freezing advice, across all products that can be frozen at home; and
Reviewing the availability and relative pricing of smaller packs / split packs for products that are wasted in high volumes (bread being a priority).
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