An Exploratory Study in to the Consumers’ Understanding of Food Date Labels and its effect on Avoidable Food Waste in The United Kingdom.
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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The misunderstanding of date labelling on food packaging by consumers, has in the past, been regarded as responsible for considerable amounts of avoidable food waste in the United Kingdom. The government have implemented manufacturer and consumer education based initiatives to tackle the problem, however they seem to have minimal effect on reducing avoidable food waste percentages. Therefore, the primary aim of this research was to enhance the existing knowledge base around consumer understanding, exploring if misunderstanding of date labels is still occurring and contributing to avoidable food waste as this may be a required area to be focused on in future food waste reducing initiatives. The study consisted of twelve individual semi- structured interviews and a thematic analysis of the transcripts, which identified three overarching themes – ‘understanding’, ‘use of date labels in food discarding decision making’ and ‘food wasting behaviours’. The findings from the interviews and subsequent analysis, reflects and support the findings of other studies, that consumers are misunderstanding the true meanings of the different date labels and using date labels in the food discarding decision making process and the link between these two factors was found to be the consequential factor in increasing avoidable food wasting behaviour amongst participants. Leading to the overall conclusion that the misunderstanding of date labels on food packaging by consumers, is still a contributing factor towards avoidable food waste in UK households.
BSc (Hons) Environmental Health
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