New campaign urges consumers to check the dates and cut food waste

New research by safefood for its Cut Food Waste campaign has revealed that 32 per cent of consumers believe ‘best before’ and ‘use by’ dates on food labels mean the same thing. The research also revealed that 44 per cent of consumers know there is a difference between the two but are unsure which is which.

To help cut food waste, safefood and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA ) Stop Food Waste programme have joined together as part of European Week for Waste Reduction (November 17 to 25 ), to encourage consumers to check the dates on food labels.

Dr Gary Kearney, director, food science, safefood, said: “We know that 30 per cent of the food we buy is thrown away and the aim of this campaign is to help consumers become more aware of ‘use by’ and ‘best before’ dates on foods and the difference between them. And with most people underestimating just how much of their weekly grocery bill is wasted on food that is in the end, thrown out, consumers can save money by focusing on these dates. Our advice is to treat best before dates as a guideline and use by dates as a deadline.”

Research for the campaign also found that consumers said bread was the food they wasted most (43 per cent ), followed by fruit (15 per cent ), dairy products (12 per cent ), vegetables (10 per cent ), and cooked packaged meat (four per cent ).

For more information about safefood’s Cut Food Waste campaign, visit


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