Wrap hails use of smaller packs to cut waste

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Supermarkets have made “great progress” encouraging consumers to waste less food by increasing availability of smaller pack sizes and improving labelling, according to a Wrap study.

A survey of 12,000 products found several improvements had been made since the previous survey in 2010.

Availability of smaller packs of potatoes, milk, cooking sauces, bread and bread rolls all improved. The number of four-packs of rolls rose from 18% to 32% of all products and two-packs more than doubled their share to 13%.

Re-sealable products also gained more shelf space, with re-sealable cheese packs now counting for 35% of all products sold, up from 26%.

The survey uncovered numerous changes to labelling practices over the past two years to encourage reduced consumer food waste.

The use of ‘display until’ dates fell to less than a third of products surveyed and, where appropriate, the use of ‘best before’ labels in place of ‘use by’ dates increased significantly. For example, 95% of Cheddar cheese packs now carry a ‘best before’ data. Two years ago a quarter had a ‘use by’ date.

Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose all introduced new labelling to make it clear that consumers do not have to freeze foods on the day of purchase but can do so up to the ‘use by’ date.

“Manufacturers and supermarkets alike have made great strides with both technological innovations and supporting Wrap’s ‘love food, hate waste’ initiative,” said Wrap design and waste prevention director Richard Swannell. “It would be great to see more of the same.”

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