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One in five consumers wastes food just because they follow date labeling

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One in five consumers wastes food just because they follow date labeling

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HelloFresh has published a survey among consumers in Germany, the UK, France, Belgium and the Netherlands around food waste and its current labeling system. The results show that on average every second person throws away food at least once or twice a month (UK: 61.3%, NL: 53.8%, BE: 49.0%, DE: 44.1%, FR: 39.3%), every fifth simply because they follow the date labeling on the packaging – regardless of the quality. More than 40% of the survey participants are convinced that there is a need for a new food labeling system in order to minimise food waste and the majority is open to a new food labeling system that helps to avoid meals going to waste.

To tackle food waste by helping consumers better understand if products are still edible, HelloFresh joined forces with a broad range of organisations including Keep-It®, Zebra Technologies and Wageningen University & Research to receive regulatory approval for innovative dynamic date marking, such as time-temperature indicators, as an alternative to traditional printed date marking.

In a global comparison, the main concern why consumers throw away food past the expiration date is because they are afraid that the consumption of food past the expiration date might lead to illness or have other detrimental health effects (FR: 57.0%, UK: 51.7%, BE: 43.7%, NL: 36.8%, DE: 34.0%). Other motivations to dispose of food past the expiration date is because it might not taste as good anymore and that consumers are simply following the expiration recommendation on the packaging . Almost every second survey participant is convinced that consumers don’t understand how to handle expiration dates correctly and therefore very often throw away food.

More than 40% of the survey participants are convinced that there is the need for a new food labeling system in order to minimise food waste and, on average, three quarters of the people surveyed agree that policy makers are at least partly responsible  for enabling change. In addition, around every second respondent considers themselves fully responsible to reduce food waste. More than half of the survey participants think there is a need to educate consumers more about how to avoid food waste at home.

The often misunderstood “Best Before” and “Use By” expiration dates lead many consumers to dispose of supposedly spoiled food. HelloFresh believes the innovative alternative solution of the time-temperature indicator (TTI) is key to addressing this change, and has therefore been closely collaborating with Keep-It®. In 2020 and 2021, HelloFresh tested Keep-It’s TTI solution amongst more than 3,000 HelloFresh customers in the Netherlands and Germany as part of a study in collaboration with Wageningen University and Thünen Institute. Time-temperature indicators show the shelf life of products in real time, taking into account storage or temperature conditions. The study proved the label offers a 15% food waste reduction potential and is perceived positively among consumers.

Tilman Eichstädt, COO Upstream at HelloFresh SE commented “Our survey showed that fish is one of the top products most likely to be thrown out based on the recommendation on the packaging. This would be the first product we’d like to label with the time temperature indicator to continuously support our customers minimising food waste while offering them a transparent way to ensure the best product quality. The EU is currently working to update date marking, but also each national member state as well as the UK can help by working on pilot projects, such as those already initiated in the Netherlands, to make use of the opportunity to make a change for smarter date coding that helps customers, the planet and companies as well”.

For more information visit www.hellofreshgroup.com.

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Our team are on hand to discuss your business’s unique needs, balancing core business objectives and efficiencies with an expertise in environmental awareness. Contact us today on 01322 284455 or by emailing [email protected].

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Bold Thinking, Reliable Execution