UK food waste company partners with dairy giants on education campaign

By Jim Cornall

- Last updated on GMT

Danone is among the dairy brands partnering to reduce food waste. Pic: Too Good To Go
Danone is among the dairy brands partnering to reduce food waste. Pic: Too Good To Go

Related tags Food waste Danone Arla Emmi Nestlé Groupe bel

Too Good To Go, a UK anti-food-waste company, has partnered with a range of food companies – including those in dairy – to tackle date label confusion and help eliminate food waste.

The ‘Look, Smell, Taste, Don’t Waste’ campaign, which launches this week, already has 25 brands signed up, and Too Good To Go is calling on others to follow.

The campaign will see brands switching products from “Use By” to “Best Before” labels where appropriate, as well as giving on pack reminders to consumers to use their senses to decide whether to eat food past its Best Before.

The Best Before date is an indicator of quality rather than safety. Food can be safe to eat after the date shown, but it’s flavor and texture may not be as good quality. On the other hand, Use By dates are safety measures stating that food should not be eaten after the date shown, regardless of whether it looks and smells fine.

Look, Smell, Taste, Don't Waste label
Pic: Too Good To Go

New research conducted by Too Good To Go suggests in the UK 45% of adults are confused about the true meaning of “Best Before” labels on food. When it comes to checking whether food is good to eat or not, 39% of Brits do not use their senses to make a decision about food that is past its “Best Before” date. This is leading to food being thrown away unnecessarily.

Among the 25 companies taking part and signing up to the ‘Look, Smell, Taste, Don’t Waste’ campaign are dairy-related companies Arla, Bel Group, Danone, Emmi UK, Nestlé and Savencia.

Some Best Before product lines from the companies’ brands will include a new pictogram, created by Too Good To Go, to remind consumers to trust their senses instead of just relying on “Best Before” date labels.

Other companies involved are The Bay Tree, Loving Foods, Alternative Foods (OGGS), Greens for Good, The Cornish Cheese Co, Dunsters Farm, Sea Chips, SpareSnacks, Nibs Etc., Glorious Game, Eat Love Raw, Punchy Drinks, Dash Water, and Fruity Packs.

Jamie Crummie, co-founder of Too Good To Go, said, “Date labeling has long caused confusion and unnecessary food waste in the UK. If we are to make significant strides to reducing food waste, we need to take action now. This is why we’re launching our national, industry-wide ‘Look, Smell, Taste, Don’t Waste’ campaign.

“I’m delighted that we’re launching this campaign alongside 25 household brands. To have Arla, Bel Group, Danone, Emmi UK, and Nestle already committing to educate their consumers, is a huge testament to the power that collective action can have. I’m calling on other brands who haven’t yet taken the steps to join the campaign to get in touch - we’d love to have you join our food waste movement.”

Harriet O’Regan, director for milk, Arla, said, “Having previously been the first in the milk category to make the switch from Use By to Best Before, helping consumers reduce food waste is something that Arla and our farmer owners are extremely passionate about. Milk is one of the most wasted foods in the home, so to extend our previous work in tackling label confusion and support the ‘Look, Smell, Taste, Don’t Waste’ campaign is another way we can play a part in reducing the amount of valuable milk that ends up being poured away.

“As part of our commitment, we will be rolling out the campaign messaging on Arla Cravendale milk to help consumers use their senses instead of relying on date labeling.”

Elodie Parre, CSR director at Bel Group, said, “For over 150 years, the portion format has been the signature of the Bel Group. It represents a major asset in the fight against food waste, allowing optimal preservation of products and the right portion of nutrition. As an actor committed to healthier and more responsible food for all, Bel fights against food waste at each stage of the production of our cheeses, from farm to plate and has the power to engage consumers, and new generations. Alongside Too Good To Go and the other members of the campaign we want to raise awareness and engage our consumers in the movement.”

Adam Grant, regional VP Danone Essential Dairy and Plant Based, UK & Ireland, said, “It’s shocking to think that more than 6 million tonnes of food is wasted in UK households each year. In line with our ‘One Planet. One Health’ vision and our B Corp commitment, I’m proud that Danone Essential Dairy & Plant-based brands are some of the first brands joining Too Good To Go’s 'Look, Smell, Taste, Don't Waste' campaign and moving from ‘Use By’ to ‘Best Before’ date labelling. We'll also be adding campaign messaging to our packs to encourage our consumers to use their senses to avoid needless waste.

“With some of the nation’s favourite yogurt brands making this move, we will play a role in preventing unnecessary household food waste while supporting consumers to understand when food is still safe to eat.”

Alice Carey, sustainability manager at Emmi UK said, “Emmi UK is delighted to be one of the inaugural brands joining the UK launch of the Too Good To Go campaign addressing date label confusion in the bid to reduce food waste. As the UK's No. 1 Flavoured Big Pot Yogurt Brand and having used ‘Best Before’ labelling for many years now, from January 2021, the Emmi owned Onken brand will also highlight the "Look, Smell, Taste, Don’t Waste" messaging on its packaging.”

Stefano Agostini, CEO, Nestlé UK&I said, “Building on our work in reducing food waste across our operations, we’re delighted to support Too Good To Go’s 'Look, Smell, Taste, Don't Waste' campaign. With an estimated 180,000 tonnes of food wasted every year across the UK due to confusion over date labelling, it is crucial that food manufacturers and retailers take collaborative action and a consistent approach to helping consumers reduce food waste.

“Nestlé will be rolling out the new labelling on a progressive basis, across key products produced in the UK and Ireland, to support consumers in the war on waste.”

Christophe Sire, general manager, Savencia UK&I, said, “We are delighted to be part of the Too Good to Go’s ‘Look, Smell, Taste, Don’t Waste’ campaign as it reaffirms Savencia’s commitment in fighting food waste in the UK. The objective of this campaign is to reduce confusion over date labeling in order to reduce food waste. We will be supporting Too Good To Go through the progressive introduction of new labelling on some of our cheeses.”

Ben Elliot, the Food Surplus and Waste Champion for Defra said, “Every year, significant amounts of food are unnecessarily wasted across the country.

“Often food that has passed its ‘Best Before’ date is perfectly safe to eat for weeks, or even months after. It is important that we help people better understand whether produce is safe to eat, and that information on food is clear, helping people make these decisions.

“I strongly support the Too Good To Go campaign and its goal to tackle food waste – and by partnering with a great variety of brands and retailers, I hope that we see a real difference soon.”

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