WELL OVER three quarters (81%) of European shoppers check “use by” and “best before” dates on food, but less than half of them (40% and 47% respectively) understand the meaning of the terms.
UK shoppers are among the best-informed in Europe, with 57% understanding the term “best before” compared to a 52% average. But it’s a different story regarding to “use by” with just 43% of shoppers in this country knowing what it means, compared to an EU average of 50%.
The data is contained in the European Commission’s “food waste and date marking” report, published this week and involving over 26,000 people.
Asked who is responsible for reducing Europe’s 100 million tonnes of food waste, individual action came top (76%). This was followed by hospitality and foodservice (62%) and supermarkets (62%). Just over half (52%) felt that food manufacturers have a role to play.
Governments were afforded a little breathing space, with one in two respondents (49%) suggesting the state has a responsibility.
The European Commission will soon publish its new circular economy package, but it’s not yet clear whether this will include any specific food waste policies or targets.
Last week Scotland announced that it could be the first country in Europe to set a food waste reduction target.