Over 40 brands have signed up to initiative to tackle ‘date label confusion’

Last year, an initiative was launched to tackle ‘date label confusion’. Now, one year on, Too Good To Go is celebrating having over 40 food and drink brands signed up to the initiative.

The ‘Look, Smell, Taste, Don’t Waste’ campaign was launched last year in an attempt to educate consumers to use their senses instead of purely following Best Before labels.

It also set out to encourage food brands to move from Use By to Best Before labels where safe to do so, all in a bid to ‘reduce unnecessary food waste’, it says.

Jamie Crummie, co-founder of Too Good To Go, said: “We’ve seen an incredible appetite over the last year from food businesses joining our initiative and helping us to reduce the amount of perfectly good food that is wasted every day simply because of date label confusion.

“However, what is clear is that this is certainly not a job done. There is still a huge amount of consumer education to be done, and there are tonnes more brands who we’d love to join our campaign in order to make even greater strides in reducing household food waste.

“I’m calling on other brands who haven’t yet taken the steps to join the campaign to get in touch – we’d love to have you join our food waste movement.”

Best before / Use by

Latest survey data compiled by Too Good To Go has found that while 64% of British adults correctly understand that Best Before dates mean that the food will not be at its best quality after the date shown, only half (52%) of Brits believe that food past it’s Best Before date is perfectly safe to eat.

This drops to 44% of 18-24 year olds. In fact, the average Brit is throwing away £303 worth of food a year on average due to it being past its Best Before date.

The Best Before date is an indicator of quality rather than safety. Food will be safe to eat after the date shown, but it’s flavour and texture may not be as good quality, Too Good To Go says.

On the other hand, Use By dates are safety measures stating that food should not be eaten after the date shown, regardless of whether it looks and smells fine.

Date labels can trigger food going to waste in the home, even Best Before dates, so moves like Morrisons from a Use By to a Best Before on milk might sound insignificant, but are in fact huge

Amongst the over 40 brands taking part are some of the nation’s most-loved names. Arla (Cravendale), Bel Group (The Laughing Cow, GoGo squeeZ ), Danone (Actimel, Activia, Oykos, Light & Free), Emmi UK (Onken & Beleaf), Nestlé (Cookie Crisp, Nesquik, Golden Nuggets, Shredded Wheat, Cheerios, Shreddies, Frosted Shreddies), PepsiCo (Tropicana, Copella), Savencia (Saint Agur) and Yeo Valley Organic have all signed up to join the ‘Look, Smell, Taste, Don’t Waste’ campaign.

Some Best Before product lines from these brand that have signed up to the initiative now include the initiative’s pictogram, created by Too Good To Go, to remind consumers to trust their senses instead of just relying on Best Before date labels.

Catherine David, Director of Collaboration and Change WRAP, said: “Date labels can trigger food going to waste in the home, even Best Before dates, so moves like Morrisons from a Use By to a Best Before on milk might sound insignificant, but are in fact huge.

“This gives people more confidence to use their judgement to decide whether the milk is still good to drink, and not just pour it away simply because the date label has passed. WRAP encourages people to apply this personal test to all food with a Best Before date – but never where a Use By appears – and supports Too Good To Go’s campaign.

“The most important thing we can all do is store food correctly at home, and Love Food Hate Waste’s A-Z guide takes the guesswork out of that.”

Use your senses

Sébastien Garnet, Quality & Food Safety Director at Danone UK & Ireland, said: “With Danone’s mission to bring health through food to as many people as possible, we’re proud to help consumers understand when food is still safe to eat by supporting Too Good To Go’s ‘Look, Smell, Taste, Don’t Waste’ campaign.

“Our yogurt brands are moving away from featuring “use by” dates because, if they still taste and smell good, consumers can be confident that they can enjoy them in the knowledge that they are perfectly safe to eat.”

Stefano Agostini, Nestlé UK&I CEO, said: “We’ve been rolling out the new labelling across our key products which are produced in the UK and Ireland to build on the work we’ve been doing to reduce food waste across our operations.

“Our Nestlé Cereals now have the ‘Look, Smell, Taste, Don’t Waste’ messaging on the boxes to make it clear that not all food that’s gone past its Best Before date should be headed for the bin.”

To help encourage consumers to use their senses rather than relying on date labels alone, Too Good To Go has partnered with Great British Bake Off 2016 winner and chef, Candice Brown, to develop a set of recipes that utilise products that are past their best.

These recipes are available on the Too Good To Go website here and will be shared over Too Good To Go’s Instagram over the coming week.

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