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Reducing Confusion over Food Date Labelling by 2020

[22/09/2017] At present, approximately 1.3 billion tonnes of food waste is either lost or wasted worldwide per annum. According to the ‘Love Food Hate Waste’ campaign, backed by the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP), the average UK family of four could save up £60 a month by reducing their food waste. Looking at these two figures it is clear to see that substantial amounts of food resources could be diverted from waste sites if consumer attitudes and procedures utilised by food orientated businesses are changed.

In order to bring about these changes, Champions 12.3 along with the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) have approved a Call to Action initiative to simplify food labelling to reduce the vast amount of food waste produced every year. Champion 12.3 is a group of executives from businesses, governments, multi-national organisations and other institutions who are interested in achieving a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target of 12.3 by 2030. The Consumer Good Forum (CGF) represents a network of 400 consumer goods companies spread throughout 70 countries worldwide. The initiative is also supported by national and multi-national food production and distribution companies such as Wal-Mart, Tesco, Kellogg, Carrefour, Nestle and Unilever.

The initiative is prioritising three actions to simplify labels and reduce food waste by 2020:

  1. Products to only display one label to reduce confusion,
  2. Use of either uniform ‘use by’ or ‘best if used by’ labels depending on the food product,
  3. Further educate consumers to develop knowledge of food date labelling.


As this initiative progresses and further actions take place the likelihood is substantial amount of food waste will be reduced. As a direct consequence of this, certain waste management companies operating food waste treatment processes may find their chosen feedstocks reducing in availability. This is likely to result in greater competition amongst waste management companies focused on food waste treatment, and where feedstocks cannot be obtained companies are likely to falter if they cannot diversify.


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