New food labels could save families £21 billion worldwide 


Food retailers and manufacturers have agreed to standardise food date labels worldwide by 2020, in the hope it could save families $29 billion (£21 billion) annually. 

Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) is an organisation made up of 400 companies from over 70 countries that has decided to simplify food labels globally.  


The reason behind this was due to confusion about the definition of labels, such as, ‘best before’ and ‘use by’. 

CGF believe that retailers and food producers should follow three steps to clarify the date labels and reduce food waste. 

The steps include:  

  • Using one label at a time 
  • Choice of two labels: an expiration date for perishable items (“use by”) and one food quality for non-perishable items (“best if used by”)- wording will be altered due to context of region 
  • Education on what date labels mean, e.g., in store windows, web materials and announcements 

With companies such as Tesco, Nestle and Unilever sitting on the CGF directors board, they hope that the simplification of these labels will expand national efforts in the United States, United Kingdom and the rest of the world.  

This is because 1.3 billion tonnes of food has been calculated to be lost or wasted each year. 

The ordinary UK household with children spends £700 a year which is disposed. 

In the Unites States that figure is $1,500. 

It is hoped that by defining the labels it will reduce wasted food, save families money and reduce their environmental footprint. 

CGF managing director Peter Freedman said: “We believe simplified and consistent date labelling will help us get one step closer to meeting our resolution to halve food waste by 2025 while also helping reduce confusion for consumers.”