The decision followed a poll of 2,000 adults conducted by the producer, which found just 15% of respondents were confident they understood everything on the label. More than a third (34%) could tell the difference between ‘best-before’ and ‘use-by’ dates, while 11% thought they were the same thing.
To combat the confusion, Arla is to remove ‘use-by’ dates on all branded fresh milk initially, including Cravendale, BOB and Goodness, to be replaced with ‘best-before’ dates only. Its entire yogurt portfolio will follow suit in 2020.
‘Consumers are clearly confused’
Fran Ball, director of quality, environment and safety at Arla, said: “Our research shows that consumers are clearly confused about labelling on their food products, particularly when it comes to use by and best before dates.
“As a nation, we waste around 490m pints of milk every year. By making some changes to the labels on our fresh milk and yogurts, we want to make people’s lives a little easier and help to cut food waste in the home.”
Arla has asked for feedback from consumers to help inform what kind of labelling should be used on its packaging though its online portal.
‘Play a part in reducing food waste’
“If changing the label gives people the confidence that their milk might still be ok for a few further days after the date on the bottle, we’ll all play a part in reducing food waste,” Ball added.
The poll also found that more than half (59%) of respondents assumed milk was unsafe to drink once the date has passed and 14% admitted they would bin it without checking to see if it could still be used.
The new ‘best-before’ labels will roll-out across all of Arla’s branded fresh milk – including Cravendale, BOB and Goodness – with the entire yogurt portfolio making the switch in 2020.
In 2017, the Consumer Goods Forum urged food companies to simplify food date labels by 2020.
Meanwhile, last month, Arla and Morrisons are working together on a project that utilises 3D scanning technology to improve the welfare and conditions of dairy cows.