Sainsbury's to change frozen food labelling to help cut food waste
Working in partnership with the Waste & Resources Action Programme, the retailer said the move will help prevent £2 billion of food being wasted.
WRAP said its research shows that 60% of shoppers believe that food has to be frozen on the day of purchase, which is reinforced by current labelling. The organisation said changing this advice will help stop over-cautious shoppers from throwing away up to 800,000 tonnes of usable food each year.
Beth Hart, Sainsbury's head of product technology for fresh and frozen said: "The 'freeze on day of purchase' advice needs to be changed as there is no food safety reason why it cannot be frozen at any point prior to the use by date.
"As a large UK retailer, we have a responsibility to minimise food waste where possible and this new labelling will certainly help us do that. As one customer pointed out to me while discussing the previous labelling, 'how does the product know which day I purchased it on?"
Sainbury’s said its research has shown that 62% of the UK regularly uses the freezer to lengthen the life of food, while in a separate study by WRAP, only 21% of people interviewed had frozen food nearing its use by date during the past week. For this reason, Sainsbury's is hoping that the new labelling, which has been drawn up in consultation with WRAP, will have a big impact.
Andrew Parry, consumer food waste prevention manager at WRAP said: "Changing the guidance to freeze before the use by date is a welcome move. Now we can all look in our fridges and know that we can freeze most items which are about to go out of date and enjoy them at a later time. In doing so we can expect to reduce the amount of out of date food we throw away, which will in turn save us all money."
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