"Best before" often means "good after"
Norway with Matvett took the initiative in 2018 in using additional labelling on "best before" labelled products. Three years later, you can find "often good after" or "not bad after" in a wide range of food products. This is an important step forward in the food waste fight and signals simply and clearly that food labeled "best before" often is edible after the date has expired.
Consumers account for 58 percent of the mapped food waste in Norway, and expired shelf life is one of the main reasons why we throw away food. Additional labelling only applies to "best before" labelled products and means that the food often can be eaten after the date has expired. Surveys show that consumers find this additional labelling useful and that it leads to less food waste in households.
The food industry in Norway agreed in 2018 to use additional labelling on "best before" labelled foods, where appropriate. This is an important step forward in the food waste fight. "Best before, often good after" has the widest support among companies, but also "not bad after" is found on some products. The aim is to signal that food marked "best before" often is ok to eat after the date has expired, in a clear and uniform manner.
Optimal date labeling is an important measure
Matvett's role is to help the food industry collaborate on various food waste reduction measures, and has, among other things, focused on food date labeling for several years. Surveys from both Matvett and Q Dairy show that consumers see additional labeling as useful. The Norwegian Food Safety Authority is also positive to this measure as long as it does not seem confusing to consumers. The additional labelling is voluntary, and it is the companies' responsibility to make the necessary evaluation for food safety.
The "Look, smell, taste" symbol
To provide further guidance to consumers, the food industry has also developed a common symbol with the statement "Look, smell, taste", to encourage the use of the senses on food that has passed its "best before" date. Several actors have been using this symbol on their products for some time already. Companies can choose to use this symbol directly on the packaging, on their own websites, in social media or campaigns. Consumer awareness is important to build peoples confidence in their own senses when consuming food. The food industry is aware of its responsibility and wants to contribute to less food being thrown away in the households.
The Norwegian model inspires again!
Due to Matvett's nudging the supplementary date labelling to the members of the EU platform on food losses and waste, several countries are now following the trend such as Danish manufacturers with Too Good To Go at the forefront and Arla in Sweden. France and Germany are also in the process of adopting "often good after" as supplementary date labelling. You can read more about the background and experiences from the use of additional date marking in Norway here . You can also find the highlights from date marking activities in Norway here.