“Sell By” Date Labels Confuse Customers, Increase Food Waste


This article is best before 5/21/16

Quick quiz:After reading the above date label, do you:

a) Check out the first few sentences to see if it’s any good

b) Read without hesitation because you don’t trust date labels

c) Click away very, very quickly

If you answered a), you’re hopefully now learning that, of course it is! If b), good for you. If you chose c), then you’re in the majority, as a recent national survey found that 84 percent of Americans throw away food based on the date stamped on packages.

That May 2016 study documents a striking amount of confusion over the meaning of the myriad date label terms. Phrases like ...

We All Waste Food. Here’s How You Can Stop.

Save the Food.

That's the message now being issued in a big way by the people who brought us Smokey the Bear and "Keep America Beautiful." Why? Because American consumers waste more food than any other segment of the supply chain (43 percent of what’s wasted, according to the recent ReFED Roadmap).

Through TV spots, billboard ads, and a sleek interactive website, Save the Food aims to illuminate America’s food waste problem. Co-created by the Ad Council and the Natural Resources Defense Council, the campaign is both long overdue and sorely needed. Most Americans don’t realize their role in wasting food, despite U.S. households’ collective 27 million-ton annual output.

“Consumer awareness ...

A New Roadmap for Fighting Food Waste

Since the United States has now joined other nations in acknowledging that food waste is a big problem, one question has lingered: how do we tackle it? A new group just might have the answers.

The U.S. now spends $218 billion producing, transporting and discarding food that isn’t eaten. Minimizing that waste by just 20 percent would yield $100 billion in societal economic benefits over a decade. This according a recent report—a novel collaboration between business, government and nonprofits—called ReFED.

A Roadmap to Reduce U.S. Food Waste by 20 Percent provides just that. Actually, it’s more GPS than roadmap, as it charts the best routes for reaching specific outcomes ...

Rockefeller Foundation Puts Money, Muscle Behind Global Food Waste Efforts

Perhaps you weren’t at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland last month. Maybe the invitation got lost in the mail or your jet was in the shop. If that’s the case, you missed some significant news: The Rockefeller Foundation pledged $130 million over seven years to fight global food loss and waste through a program called YieldWise.

Yes, those Rockefellers. Or at least the foundation they’ve endowed that is now a force in philanthropy and hunger relief. The fact that the Rockefeller Foundation is doing this matters. “In terms of credibility and authority in the social services realm, the Rockefeller name is still gold,” says Steve Taravella, ...

Kenyan Farmers Fight Food Loss By Drying, Selling Mangoes

What do you get when you mix Kenyan mango farmers, a European food initiative, a German consulting firm, and a Kenyan health food company? Give up?? The answer, of course, is dried mango. (Kaushe maembe in Swahili.)

How exactly did that come to pass? As you might suspect, it’s complicated. But it starts with a whole lot of wasted mangoes. More than half the crop—64 percent to be exact—never made it to market. That’s 300,000 tons of tasty, nutritious mangoes squandered every year in a country that, like most places, is no stranger to hunger. There are very few secondary markets. Somehow, it is cheaper to import mango pulp ...

Want to Cut Food Waste? Start In Your Own Kitchen

In the last few days, you probably ate a leftover turkey sandwich or two. And why wouldn’t you? If done right, that turkey-stuffing-cranberry concoction rivals anything James Beard-blessed and can even top the Thanksgiving meal itself. Hint: bread is key, and challah is never a bad choice.

You might have transitioned turkey into another main dish. And maybe you even used a turkey carcass to make soup—you and former 1988 Presidential Nominee Michael Dukakis. (Dukakis’ willingness to accept others’ turkey carcasses netted him 20 such donations this yearand a great hashtag: #Dukarcass!)

If you did any of the above—great! If you didn’t, there’s probably still time. Most food ...

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