Longer shelf lives are a key weapon in food waste battle

A new report from WRAP estimates that an increase of just one day on product life across a range of foods could prevent around 250,000 tonnes of food waste each year – in households and in the supply chain – by giving consumers longer to eat the food they buy.

In a pioneering new report published today, reducing food waste by extending product life, WRAP has assessed the amount of product life available to consumers on shelf, and reviewed how product life codes such as ‘Use-by’ and ‘Best-before’ dates are currently set by retailers, brands and food manufacturers.

The study examined a range of popular foods where there are typically relatively high levels of waste. It estimates the potential overall tonnage and financial savings by scaling-up data from these products to all food groceries. WRAP’s findings give an indication of the significant potential benefits available to industry and consumers.

WRAP identified opportunities to make simple and safe changes throughout the supply chain and pass on more product life to consumers.

Dr. Richard Swannell, director of sustainable food systems at WRAP said, “The findings in our report are a real opportunity for industry. By implementing these simple recommendations, food manufacturers and retailers can make a big difference in the battle against food waste, without even having to change products and packaging. We estimate that shoppers could save upwards of £500m, and businesses could save £100m in waste prevention alone.”

Michael Bennett of Pelican’s specialist packaging and logistics communications team said: “This report yet again confirms the vital role that packaging has to play in delivering environmental benefits. Packaging is part of the answer not the problem and it is good that this is now more widely recognised.”

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