A lack of understanding about food and drink labelling is resulting in a build up of food waste, new research has found.
A poll of 2,000 adults found 85 per cent get confused about the difference between ‘best before’ and ‘use by’ dates, as well as storage information.
While three quarters check food and drink packaging before they purchase something, only 15 per cent are confident they can decipher everything on the label.
And more than a third are unsure about the difference between ‘best before’ and ‘use by’ dates, with 11 per cent believing them to be the same thing.
One in three end up binning food
This confusion means around one in three end up binning food which is past its ‘best before’ date.
And another 38 per cent do the same once the product has passed its ‘use by’ date.
The stats emerged in a study by Arla Foods, which will become the first dairy company to remove ‘use by’ dates on all branded fresh milk and replace with ‘best before’ dates, in a bid to cut confusion and help reduce food waste.
Fran Ball, director of quality, environment and safety at Arla Foods UK, said:
“Our research shows that consumers are clearly confused about labelling on their food products, particularly when it comes to use by and best before dates.
“As a nation, we waste around 490 million pints of milk every year.
Changes to the labels
“By making some changes to the labels on our fresh milk and yogurts, we want to make people’s lives a little easier and help to cut food waste in the home.
“To make sure everyone can easily understand our packaging, we’re asking them to tell us which label they want to see on our bottles.
“Because we are owned by farmers, we know how much hard work goes into producing milk to Arla’s high quality standards.
“If changing the label gives people the confidence that their milk might still be OK for a few further days after the date on the bottle, we’ll all play a part in reducing food waste.”