A group of top consumer goods companies is recommending an industry-wide simplification of perishable and non-perishable food labels.
The New York-based Consumer Goods Forum, a network of 400 of the biggest consumer goods companies in the world, is recommending that food labels contain one date only — a “use by” date for perishables, for example, and a “best if used by” date for non-perishables. Exact wording would be determined by regional context. The group hopes to have the simplified labels on products by 2020.
The recommendation was unanimously approved by the Consumer Goods Forum’s board of directors, which includes officials from Walmart, Bimbo, Campbell Soup and other companies.
According to the group, confusion caused by multiple dates on food labels costs $29 billion in food waste annually.
“Walmart has worked with its suppliers to support the use of standardized date labels that provide consistent and transparent information to better reflect product’s shelf life”, says Katherine Neebe, the retailer’s director for sustainability. “I commend CGF for leveraging their influence to support customer-friendly labelling practices.”