If you’ve ever paused before tossing a can of food in the trash after seeing the date on the label, you’re not alone.
Whether it’s because of habit, cultural norms or a genuine fear of getting sick, most consumers err on the safe side and avoid foods that have passed the date stamped on their labels. As a result, an enormous amount of the food that goes uneaten around the world gets wasted at home. Confusion over labels leads Americans to throw away an estimated $29bn worth of still edible food each year.
Walmart, one of the nation’s largest food retailers, has been working on a fix. It requires suppliers of its private label Great Value line of products to use the same, standardized date label for its non-perishable foods: “Best if used by”.