Fighting food waste is in our hands

Salumi Pasini embraced Too Good To Go’s pact against food waste, joining the Date Labelling campaign – “Etichetta Consapevole” from early 2021.

Expiration dates on products in our homes are pre-established, confusing, misrepresented and often overlooked, leading to a huge amount of food waste. In fact, 53% of food waste in Europe takes place at home (EU Fusions, 2016) and expiration dates are responsible for 10% of the 88 million tonnes of food wasted along the food chain (European Commission, 2018).

In Italy as well, food waste is a very actual problem: in 2020, in fact, more than 1.5 million tonnes of food were wasted at home (Waste Watcher, 2021) and, according to a survey by Altroconsumo, 32% of people interviewed are throwing away food at home because it appears spoiled or it was not eaten by the expiry date (Altroconsumo, 2020). The problem of food waste may therefore seem to be far too big for us, but even the smallest changes in our daily routine can make a difference. How?

According to Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011, labelling the pre-packed food with the indication of the expiry date or the minimum durability date (DMD) is mandatory, together with other requirements. The expiry date, which is indicated with the words “use by”, is used for perishable food due to microbiological alteration and therefore could be risky to our health if consumed after the date indicated on the packaging. The date of minimum durability (DMD), stated as “best before”, or sometimes shown as BBE (best before end), is about quality and not safety. The food will be safe to eat after this date, if properly stored, but may not be at its best. Its flavour and texture might not be as good. The European Regulation also includes some cases where there is not an expiry date: for instance, products whose deterioration is evident, such as fruit and vegetables, products which, by nature, are consumed within 24 hours, e.g. bread and bakery products, and products whose organoleptic properties do not deteriorate significantly over time, e.g. wine, vinegar, and salt.

In Italy, the difference between expiry date and minimum durability date is not that clear and sometimes food labels have terms that can create further confusion. In fact, according to a survey by Altroconsumo, 56% of respondents believe that the wording “best before” should be changed to clarify that products can be safely consumed beyond the indicated date (Altroconsumo, 2020). The European Commission has itself expressed its support for initiatives to improve understanding of the two labels, to prevent the problem of food waste at home and to encourage innovation and dialogue along the various stages of the food supply chain.

Considering the importance and relevance of consumer education for the fight against food waste and, in particular, the correct interpretation of labels, Too Good To Go launched the ETICHETTA CONSAPEVOLE campaign (Look, Smell, Taste – Don’t waste in UK) to help, educate and provide everyone with the right informative tools to reduce food waste on our daily routine. The campaign has already been promoted and implemented in many countries such as France, Germany and Denmark, where the words “often good after” were added to the DMD on the label, inviting the consumer to use taste, sight and smell in case the minimum shelf life has passed. The Date labelling (etichetta consapevole) initiative, therefore aims to clarify the difference between “use by” and “best before” by adding information for the consumer order to avoid throwing away products that are still good.

Salumi Pasini has decided to join the Too Good To Go campaign starting with the “Look, Smell, Taste” labelling on the Salame Campagnolo. Other products will be part of this campaign in the coming months. Together we can make a difference and have a concrete impact against food waste.

” Launching the Etichetta Consapevole project promoted by Too Good To Go Italy is a great opportunity to aware our consumers that many cured meat products are still good well beyond the date indicated as “best before” – says Daniela Pasini, Head of Marketing & Communication at Salumi Pasini. “Many charcuterie products, if well preserved, can last longer if we check them through our senses: smelling the product to recognize the typical notes of the seasoning, looking at the product’s colour, touching them to understand the consistency when cut. For sure it is a good habit that we need to use more often to actually avoid the waste of products which are still good. With this initiative launched by Too Good To Go, we want to promote such awareness to our customers, providing them with all the tools they need to understand the quality of the product, wishing for a world with less and less waste, and giving visibility to an initiative that is particularly close to our hearts”.