Sainsbury’s tackles frozen food labelling

Sainsbury’s has called for the advice on freezing meat products to be made clearer, in a bid to stop billions of pounds worth of food being thrown away.

The retailer is rolling out new labelling on food products throughout its stores to advise customers that food should be frozen as soon as possible, up to the product’s use-by date. It argued that the current ‘freeze on day of purchase’ labelling is causing confusion, and has worked with the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) to remedy this.

Beth Hart, Sainsbury’s head of product technology for fresh and frozen, said: “The ‘freeze on day of purchase’ advice needs to be changed as there is no food safety reason why it cannot be frozen at any point prior to the use-by date.

“As a large UK retailer, we have a responsibility to minimise food waste where possible and this new labelling will certainly help us do that. As one customer pointed out to me while discussing the previous labelling, ‘how does the product know which day I purchased it on?’”

Research by WRAP has shown that 60% of consumers believe food has to be frozen on the day of purchase, as suggested by current labelling. Although Sainsbury’s found that 62% of consumers regularly use the freezer to lengthen the life of food, around 7.2m tonnes of food and drink is wasted every year, costing British families up to £50 every month.

Andrew Parry, consumer food waste prevention manager at WRAP, said: “Changing the guidance to freeze before the use-by date is a welcome move. Now we can all look in our fridges and know that we can freeze most items which are about to go out of date and enjoy them at a later time. In doing so, we can expect to reduce the amount of out-of-date food we throw away, which will in turn save us all money.”

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