Brits bin 122 million food items a month due to confusing labels and ‘keeping up appearances’

  • 2 million Brits throw away food that is safe to eat believing it to be ‘risky’
  • 7 million Brits incorrectly believe feeding food approaching its ‘best before’ date to their families is ‘dangerous’
  • Brits are expected to throw away 1,463,034,960 items of food collectively in 2016 alone
  • Chef and author Shane Jordan backs #PerfectlyGood campaign to tackle confusing food labels, with fewer than half the population understanding what ‘use by’ means


London – February 2016: New research from online retailer Approved Food has revealed that the nation throws away nearly 122 million items of food every month, due to misunderstanding around food labelling, adding up to nearly 1.5 billion items of food annually. The data showed that over 1 in 4 Brits are binning food that is safe to eat, under the mistaken belief that feeding their families food approaching or on its ‘best before’ date is ‘risky’. A further 7 million Brits are under the impression that this food is ‘dangerous’, while 2.1 million think it makes them look ‘cheap’ or ‘miserly’ to serve it up.

88% of Brits claim to be ‘quite confident’ or ‘very confident’ when it comes to reading and understanding food labels. However, Approved Food’s research shows that almost a third (30%) of Brits incorrectly define ‘best before’ and fewer than half of the population (48%) can accurately state what ‘use by’ means*. 

Misunderstanding around food labelling is leading to a lack of confidence in the kitchen and, as a result, over half of the population (54%) say they regularly buy new food rather than eating food they have in their cupboards.

Buying food rather than using food available at home adds up over the course of the year and the nation is underestimating the cost of food waste. The Approved Food survey shows Brits estimate the cost of food wastage for a family to be £355[i], when it is nearly double the amount at £700[ii] a year, according to Love Food, Hate Waste (the food wastage arm of WRAP).

Public opinion is that the food industry should do more to educate the nation on food labelling, with 57% of those surveyed feeling it should fall on the shoulders of food manufacturers, and 50% of Brits suggesting food retailers provide more information.

Today sees the launch of Approved Food’s Perfectly Good campaign, who are encouraging the nation to head to to learn more about food dates, how to use leftover food and cut waste. The Perfectly Good campaign will provide education on food labelling and aims to save the nation £50 million by reducing food waste in UK households and from further up the supply chain.

Approved Food founder, Dan Cluderay says: “There is a lot of misunderstanding around food labelling and it can be confusing. People are puzzled by what ‘best before’ and ‘use by’ actually mean so it is little wonder that families are throwing away perfectly good food when they don’t need to.

At Approved Food, we are on a mission to educate and eradicate confusion around the different dates used on food products, cut food waste and save the nation £50 million in the process. It’s vital to make sure people understand food dates and labelling and we want to make sure people are thinking before they throw food away. In addition there is incredible waste created further up the supply chain and we want to work closely with manufacturers to help solve waste problems they encounter everyday. ”

Chef, author and food education practitioner Shane Jordan says: “Providing solutions towards food waste issues are very important to me. The first is letting people know that by taking small steps, they can help to limit the amount of food they throw away which reduces waste overall and saves money. This is why I am a keen supporter of Approved Food’s Perfectly Good Campaign as they are bringing much needed awareness to this issue. £50 million is a huge target, but I believe we are all more than capable of helping the nation to cut waste and preserve food for longer.”

Approved Food is the largest online retailer of residual food and drink and items approaching their best before date. Products are sourced directly from food manufacturers to suppliers and are sold at discounts of up to 70% off the recommended retail price, helping people save money and prevent waste.

To learn more about Approved Food’s Perfectly Good campaign, visit 

[i] Based on an average family of four

[ii] Source: Love Food Hate Waste


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