The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) yesterday confirmed that “sell by” and “display until” dates will be removed from goods on supermarket shelves to deter people from throwing away food when it is still safe to eat. Working together with the food industry, consumer groups, regulators, and the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), it is hoped that the move will cut the £12bn worth of food that is needlessly binned every year in the UK.


Liz Redmond, head of hygiene and microbiology at the Food Standards Agency (FSA), said: “This new guidance will give greater clarity to the food industry on which date mark should be used on their products whilst maintaining consumer protection”.


Whilst removing these dates on the packaging goes some way to helping reduce food waste, the packaging materials itself also play a vital role. A survey done in 2010 by the European Container Glass Federation (FEVE) has shown that 69% of consumers believed that glass packaging is the best at preserving the original taste and nutritional value of their food and beverages.


The first and foremost reason for packaging is to protect and preserve products. Glass is the best material for doing this because it’s chemically inert. In fact, it is the only packaging material that requires no protective layer between content and container, and it preserves the natural flavour and appearance of products for a long time without the need for preservatives. Glass containers are also easy to reseal and keep products fresher for longer once they’ve been opened.


Consumers also attribute a higher added value to products contained in glass. More than 85% of European consumers say they would never think of celebrating a special occasion without glass as a favourite container. Thanks to its transparency and infinite flexibility to design, glass adds strong visual appeal to the product it contains. It can transform the simple act of pouring mineral water into an occasion.


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