Clear food labelling 'could reduce waste'

15th November 2013 - Fine Cut

Companies operating within the food manufacturing industries should include clearer and more detailed labels on their products in a bid to tackle the issue of waste, a new report has suggested.

A study published by the Waste & Resources Action Programme, which was reported by Food Manufacture, has suggested that additional information on freezing and defrosting would encourage the public to store some items for longer.

The report also suggested that introducing longer product shelf-life and carrying out more work on fish and meat products could be beneficial for the industry as a whole, while driving down domestic food waste further.

Experts suggested that industry labelling initiatives - such as removing 'display until' from products and making it easier to see important 'use by' dates - could contribute to households throwing out fewer items before they need to.

The Food and Drink Federation said its members had made progress on pack design and providing improved information on product use and storage.

Also included in the report were several figures regarding household waste, with statistics pointing to a 1.3 million tonne reduction in domestic food rubbish in 2012. However, researchers noticed that the amount of meat and fish thrown away by consumers had not changed in the last five years.

On the other hand, the research found that the amount of avoidable domestic dairy food waste had fallen by 21 per cent since 2007. Commenting on the findings, Dr Judith Bryans - chief executive officer of Dairy UK - said the industry has been working hard to help consumers reduce food waste through improvements in processing techniques.

The past few years have seen the launch of several campaigns aimed at advising consumers against throwing out food when they do not need to. Sainsbury's recently ran a Food Goes Further initiative and Make the Most of Your Roast, which inspired households to use their leftovers creatively.

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