The research looked at:
- If packaging extends the shelf life of fruit and vegetables;
- If selling items loose enables households to buy an appropriate amount for their needs; and
- How people make decisions about when to throw away fruit and vegetables, and what role does a ‘Best Before’ date have on these decisions.
In the first of the reports, Modelling the impact of selling products loose or in packaging, these effects are modelled using the Household Simulation Model. This approach simulates the journey of food through the home, including how much is wasted. This allows us to investigate how actions and decisions by households, alongside attributes to the food (such as shelf life), influence the amount of food waste.
This modelling was supported by the other pieces of research, which obtained new evidence to inform the above modelling:
- Experiments measuring the shelf life of fruit and vegetables, comparing loose items and those in packaging is described in The impact of packaging and refrigeration on shelf life. This report also includes comparisons of shelf life in different storage conditions, in addition to data for some dairy items.
- Citizen insights on the influence of packaging and date labels on disposal decisions describes an on-line survey to add to our understanding of how people decide whether to use items or throw them away.
A summary of these three reports, alongside recommendations for retailers that draw on their findings can be found here.
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