Unilever, Carlsberg and Arla Foods are going to change the use-by dates on some of their products. The well-known ‘best before’ message will be extended with the text ‘often good after’, as a result of manufacturers wanting to prevent consumers from systematically disposing of perfectly edible products.
The addition of ‘often good after’ is a joint initiative by the Danish start-up, Too Good To Go, and a number of large food producers such as Unilever, Carlsberg and Arla Foods. The aim is to avoid waste – it is estimated that one third of the world’s food produced for human consumption is wasted in one way or another. In industrialised countries, it is end consumers who waste the most.
53% of consumers do not know the difference between ‘best before’ (BBE) and ‘use by’ (UBD), explained Mette Lykke, CEO of Too Good To Go, to Foodnavigator. However, these two things are completely different in meaning. A date showing the UBD only appears on very perishable products, such as meat; eating it after the date indicated on the product can make you very ill. On the other hand, there is a also the BBE date, which is only an indication of the shelf life of the product. Once this date has passed, the quality or appearance of the product may deteriorate, but it can often still be eaten safely. “By adding ‘often good after’, we wanted to make this distinction clear,” said Lykke.
Unilever will use the new wording on 3 new Knorr mini meals, which will be launched in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland this autumn. The food group is also looking into the possibility of implementing the wording in other countries, but local legal requirements must first be taken into account.