How packaging can prevent food waste
Ondernemers sociëteit voedingsindustrie
B2B Communications
Wallbrink Crossmedia
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How packaging can prevent food waste

  • 18 September 2023

The Dutch food industry plays a pivotal role in the pursuit of sustainability and innovation. Food waste has been a long-standing concern, with confusion surrounding expiration labels such as 'to be used by' (TGT) and 'best before' (THT) being a key culprit. However, recent research from Wageningen Food & Biobased Research reveals that additional information on packaging can genuinely make a difference.

Consumers frequently discard food due to misunderstandings about these labels. Yet, the experiment demonstrated that when supplementary details like visual cues and explanatory texts were added, participants made more discerning choices about whether to use or throw away products.

Especially for products past their consumption date, it was found that they were discarded more frequently when enhanced information was provided—a desired outcome from a food safety perspective. However, the intended effect of reducing the disposal of food items still within their expiry date through this added information was not conclusively demonstrated.

Nevertheless, the results indicate that thoughtful communication on packaging can genuinely influence consumer behavior. By explicitly guiding consumers on the actions to undertake when faced with an expired product, rather than just explaining the label meanings, we can collectively take strides toward reducing food waste.

Read the research ‘Does extra on pack information impact consumers’ understanding of expiry dates and food waste behaviour?’

Source: Wageningen Food & Biobased Research