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Dutch firms collaborate to provide clarity on expiration date labeling

Dutch firms collaborate to provide clarity on expiration date labeling Unilever Food and Beverage Business

A coalition of food companies and supermarkets in the Netherlands has come together to address food waste by providing clarity on expiry dates for certain products. The Date-Labelling Coalition includes major manufacturers like Unilever, FrieslandCampina, and Enrico Foods, as well as retailers Albert Heijn, Lidl, Jumbo, and Dirk. This initiative was established by the Samen Tegen Voedselverspilling foundation, Food Waste Free United (FNLI), and Too Good To Go, with the support of Dutch supermarket trade association CBL and the Netherlands Nutrition Centre.

According to a statement from Samen Tegen Voedselverspilling, approximately two billion kilograms of “good food” are wasted each year in the Netherlands, with consumer waste accounting for 24% to 38% of that total. One of the reasons for this waste is the uncertainty surrounding expiration dates on products in consumers’ homes. Toine Timmermans, director of FNLI, noted that despite efforts to reduce food waste, the downward trend seems to be plateauing.

The coalition aims to educate consumers about the difference between best-before (THT) and use-by (TGT) dates, emphasizing that the best-before date is a guideline rather than a strict expiration date. Companies participating in the coalition will introduce icons like a ‘look-smell-taste icon’ for best-before products and a ‘hand’ icon for use-by products. Debora van der Zee-Denekamp, general manager of nutrition for north Europe at Unilever, emphasized the importance of consumers using products safely and judging their quality by looking, smelling, and tasting.

By providing clear information on product labeling and encouraging consumers to make informed decisions about food safety, the coalition hopes to reduce unnecessary food waste at home. This collaborative effort is seen as a positive step in the right direction and sets an example for companies in the food and beverage industry to follow in promoting sustainable practices.

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