‘Fundamental lack of awareness’ over date labels

By Laurence Gibbons contact

- Last updated on GMT

Consumers don't understand date labels, according to Approved Foods
Consumers don't understand date labels, according to Approved Foods

Related tags: Food waste, Recycling, Food

The food and drink industry must do more to educate people over a “fundamental lack of awareness” about the difference between best-before and use-by-dates in a bid to tackle food waste, according to the boss of online grocer selling best-before products Approved Foods.

A recent European Commission report, which exposed a lack of knowledge about date labels and identified resource efficiency and waste management as key elements to EU environmental policy, was a step in the right direction, Approved Foods boss Dan Cluderay claimed.

More than half (60%) of the global population were unclear on the meaning of use-by, the report found.

‘Educational, environmental and economic action’

Cluderay, who founded online discount grocer Approved Food which provides a route to market for excess stock and goods nearing or past their best-before-date, said the statistics must now drive “educational, environmental and economic action”.

“It’s not great that the findings of the survey showed such a fundamental lack of understanding about the difference between best-before dates and use-by dates amongst such a significant number of the population, but what it does do is give us insight into what needs to be done,” ​he said.

“Ultimately, we need to step it up a gear when it comes to educating people on the difference between the two; making sure people have all the facts to make a solid, sensible decision about what they are prepared to eat – helping to reduce the amount of food destined for landfill that is perfectly safe to consume.”

If food waste was cut by a quarter, global poverty could comfortably be tackled, Cluderay added.

Food waste key facts

  • 7Mt of food and drink is wasted each year
  • Costs £12.5bn annually
  • Costs households £60 a month
  • 60% of people are concerned  

Source: Love Food Hate Waste

Redistributed 32M items

Approved Foods has redistributed 32M items otherwise destined for landfill through its work with suppliers, manufacturers, supermarkets and distributors.

“We sell food and drink that is nearing or past its best before date – which is a labelling for optimum quality, not a safety measure,”​ Cluderay said.

“Over 7Mt of food is wasted in the UK alone every single year. Through targeted education, leading to greater awareness, we have the ability to bring this right down – contributing positively to the economy and the environment.”

Speaking ahead of the conference, ‘Fight Food Waste, Feed The Planet’, earlier this month in Milan EU Commissioner Vytenis Andriukaitis, responsible for health and food d safety, said that while pleased to see that many Europeans recognise their role in food waste reduction, the figure could rise to over 120Mt by 2020 if no action was taken.

Related topics: Policy

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