Research reveals labelling confusion leads to food waste

10/09/2019 - 10:09
Thousands of adults in the UK have admitted they struggle to understand the labels on food and beverage packaging, resulting in unnecessary food waste.

Arla Foods, a dairy supplier to the foodservice industry, have carried out a poll on 2,000 adults about confusion on food and beverage labelling. The survey asked  the difference between ‘best before’ and ‘use by’ dates, as well as storage information and even the salt, sugar and fat content leaving 85% of the nation confused.

The study revealed 77% of respondents check food and drink packaging before they purchase but only 15% of people are sure they fully understand everything on the label. This includes the ‘best before’ and ‘use by dates’ which a third of Brits (34%) were unsure on the difference, leading to unnecessary food waste.

Arla Foods have become the ‘first dairy company’ to remove ‘use by’ dates on all branded fresh milk and replace it with ‘best before’ dates in a bid to reduce confusion and cut food waste. In Britain there are an estimated 490 million pints of milk wasted every year.  

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.

“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. 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.”

The research showed 59% of respondents assumed milk is unsafe to drink once the date is passed and 14% admitted they would bin milk without checking to see if it could be used.

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