Best Before dates are ‘Bad News’

With pressure mounting on the European commission to reinstate food waste targets in its Circular Economy strategy a recent report from Berlin’s Humboldt University claims that confusion surrounding Best Before labels are a major contributor to the problem, says a recent article in Food Navigator.

German companies are not doing a good job communicating with their customers about the food waste issue, even though more than half the companies interviewed for the research believe it to be an increasingly relevant topic and 84% said it was a high, or fairly high priority.

The German agriculture minister has already said he would like to see the end of Best Before dates and the government has earmarked Euro10 million to develop ‘smarter’ packaging.

Most of the German companies in the survey felt the best way to fight food waste was better education of the consumer on Best Before labeling. But a high priority was also placed on communicating with customers. Technical progress was also seen as a key element. Consumers in that country are much more receptive to doing away with Best Before, with only 1 in 4 wanting to see them retained on perishable items.

Already EU member states, including Sweden and the Netherlands have called for the scrapping of Best Before labeling. Current estimates say 20% of food produced in the EU is wasted, worth Euro143billion.

Commenting on this survey Eef de Ferrante, executive director of AIPIA said, “All the ingredients are in place for a wider adoption of smarter packaging to reduce food waste. It seems the German government is ahead of the food sector in this area. So the next 6 to 12 months could see an increase in the pressure within the EU to use better and more reliable packaging technologies to solve the problem.”


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