Shopper looking at the label on a bottle

Food date labelling

Food date labelling and storage advice

A key way in which food retailers and brands can help their customers throw away less food is by adopting good practice for the way products are packaged, labelled and priced. It’s also important that they help customers to understand the difference between types of date label, when food is safe to freeze, how to safely defrost, and so on. Implementing this best practice will help to significantly reduce the two million tonnes of food thrown away each year from our homes due to it not being used in time and also help deliver a significant increase in surplus food redistribution

UPDATE FEBRUARY 2022: WRAP has published ground-breaking new research into uncut fresh fruit and vegetables and the opportunities to reduce household food waste. Please note that the findings of the new research and the recommended actions differ from those contained in our current labelling guidance. Pending discussions with relevant partner organisations WRAP will be revising this guidance in line with the new recommendations. Please contact WRAP if you would like further information.

On this page you will find key information on how to apply food date labels, storage and freezing advice to ensure food is safe to eat, reduce consumer food waste and remove barriers to redistribution. Category-specific guidance and checklists are included; proven to be effective in helping consumers reduce their household food waste.

Best practice labelling guidance and checklist

Best practice and food safety for redistribution*

  • Guide

    Surplus food redistribution labelling guidance

    This guide covers date labelling and storage instruction requirements for surplus food, in order for it to be safely redistributed, along with guidance for freezing and relabelling fresh food.

    21 April 2020

* Food law

The guidance or activities around the redistribution of surplus food does not change or replace the normal legal requirements that apply to the provision of food. A food business, which could be any undertaking, whether for profit or not and whether public or private, carrying out any activities related to any stage of food production, processing or distribution, is subject to food law - including safety and hygiene; as well as record-keeping and traceability

Local authority Trading Standards Departments and Environmental Health Departments are responsible for advising on and enforcing food law. It is recommended that in the first instance Food Business Operators direct any questions around laws relating to the provision or handling of food that they may have, to their local authority enforcement team.