In France, dozens of companies (including giants like Carrefour and Danone) have signed a pact to change their approach to expiry dates. The initiative came from the Danish app Too Good To Go, which aims to combat food waste.
Pact around expiry dates
Expiry dates are confusing: according to research by the Danish company, people do not know the difference between 'best before' and 'use by'. For example, 12 % less shelf-stable products such as rice, coffee and canned soup would reportedly be wasted if there were no ‘best before’ date on the packaging.
In France, Too Good To Go has now launched a pact for expiration dates, with which it aims to convince all those involved in the food chain to start thinking differently and, above all, to communicate more clearly about expiry dates. Some forty parties have already signed the pact, including the French Ministry of Agriculture, Intermarché, Nestlé, Danone and Carrefour.
Mostly 'best before'
Together, they have drawn up an action plan consisting of no fewer than ten points, but mainly aimed at communicating more clearly about how long consumers can preserve food products. After all, the first pillar in the plan is to conduct a national communication campaign to raise awareness about food waste, followed by the promise to make the difference between ‘best before’ and ‘use by’ clearer.
The plan also provides for better cooperation, by sharing and aligning good practices, and better reuse and recovery of residual flows. In practice, the French companies have committed to replace "use by" by "best before” as much as possible. There may even be a "often good after" label, to indicate that food often does not immediately turn bad after the ‘best before’ date.