Stop Wasting Food & Money! Learn What “Best Before” Labels Mean Before You Throw Food Away

Modern consumers are savvy: they want to save money, eat healthy foods, and live environmentally friendly lifestyles. It’s a tall order, but Ontario families are up to the challenge. 

However, the average Canadian wastes $1,777 per year in food (CBC), despite their best efforts to save money and prevent waste. According to the National Zero Waste Council (NZWC), a common source of food waste is the confusion surrounding common food labels, such as the “best before” label. People see these labels and incorrectly assume that any food near or just past the “best before” date is expired and no longer edible. This simply isn’t true!

Decoding Food Labels: What Does the “Best Before” Label Mean?

Food labels are becoming more detailed than ever. This is great for consumers, who want more information about the foods they’re eating so they can make educated choices. Some of the labels you commonly see on foods are nutrition labels, manufacturing labels (such as the lot number and where the item was made/packaged), and labels that list the “best before”, “expiry date”, and “packaged on” dates.

While all these different labels contain valuable information, it can be hard for the average person to decipher what each label means! 

While they seem similar at first, a “best before” date is not the same as an “expiry date”. The purpose of the “best before” date is to give consumers information about the freshness of the product when it’s unopened and stored under proper conditions. This means that the unopened product will not instantly expire the moment the “best before” date arrives. When stored properly, it will remain fine for consumption for a reasonable amount of time. So that unopened box of pasta that’s nearing its “best before” date, or is a week or two past the date? Don’t throw it away! It’s completely fine and you won’t notice any change in the quality of the product.

Know Your Labels: Prevent Food Waste, Save Money
& Help the Environment

To help combat unnecessary food waste, the NZWC released A Food Loss and Waste Strategy for Canada report to help halve food waste by 2030. The report includes reconsidering how “best before” date labelling is approached. 

According to the report, food labels such as the ‘best before”, “use by”, “sell by”,  and “expiry” dates cause confusion amongst consumers, which leads to foods that are perfectly fine for consumption being thrown away. Greater clarity about food labels “would reduce the unnecessary disposal of safe and healthy food, either by consumers or businesses who remove them prematurely from their shelves” (NZWC). 

Understanding food labels also helps to prevent unnecessary landfill waste and greenhouse gas production, which are major contributors to environmental pollution. Reducing the amount of food wasted will not only save your family money, it’ll help the environment, according to the NZWC’s report:

“More than a third of food produced and distributed in Canada never gets eaten, with significant environmental, economic and social consequences. This grossly inefficient use of resources forces local governments into excessive costs for waste disposal, generates avoidable greenhouse gases at all stages of the production and distribution chain, and costs the Canadian economy up to $100 billion annually. In addition, organic waste in landfills, largely food, generates four per cent of Canada’s greenhouse gases” (NZWC).

Our Commitment to Helping Ontario Families Eat Better, Save Money & Reduce Food Waste

Farmway Foods is a strong believer in helping Ontario families save money and eat better. We also help our customers support local Ontario farmers by providing premium Ontario meats – which helps to grow our economy, support ethical farming practices, and reduce our reliance on imported foods.

We’re also strongly against food waste, which is why our meats are individually quick-frozen and vacuum-packed to reduce freezer burn and waste. We want our customers to maximize their dollar and not worry about throwing food away. Individually vacuum-packing each item means you can take out what you need and not worry about food spoilage or freezer burn, so you can enjoy every single one of your Farmway Foods products.

Farmway Foods Ontario Meat Delivery: Get Premium Quality Ontario Grass-Fed Beef, Free-Run Chicken, Pasture-Raised Pork & Wild-Caught Fish 

Our local Ontario meats from family-run farms are quick-frozen and vacuum-packed, so you can simply take out what you need from your freezer, defrost, and enjoy! Our goal is to make meal planning easy, so you have everything you need to cook delicious, healthy meals already at home. No more running to the grocery store at the last minute – Farmway Foods has you covered. Simply pick the plan that works best for your family and select your favourite products – we offer a wide variety of Ontario grass-fed beef, free-run chicken, pasture-raised pork, and wild-caught fish for you to choose from!

Ready to learn more? Contact us for more information on our local Ontario grass-fed beef and taste the difference yourself!