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Many Consumers Misinterpret Food (Best By / Use By) Expiration Date Labels
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Many Consumers Misinterpret Food (Best By / Use By) Expiration Date Labels

Many Consumers Misinterpret Food (Best By / Use By) Expiration Date Labels

Shopper schooling is required to extend understanding of meals date labels based on a brand new examine within the Journal of Vitamin Training and Conduct.

Misunderstanding meals date labeling is frequent and academic communications are wanted to enhance shopper understanding, based on a new examine within the Journal of Vitamin Training and Conduct, printed by Elsevier.

Instance of an illustrated message. Credit score: Journal of Vitamin Training and Conduct

Does it imply “spoiled — throw it out,” or “won’t style pretty much as good because it might anymore?” Food date labels (e.g., “USE By August 16”) can play an necessary function in serving to customers make knowledgeable selections about meals, and in the end forestall unsafe consumption and waste of meals. Researchers surveyed 2,607 adults in the US to evaluate shopper understanding of the streamlined 2-date labeling system and discover the relative effectiveness of instructional messages in growing understanding.

“Our examine confirmed that an awesome majority of customers say that they use meals date labels to make selections about meals and say they know what the labels imply,” mentioned Catherine Turvey, MPH, Division of Train and Vitamin Sciences, Milken Institute Faculty of Public Well being, The George Washington College, Washington, DC, USA. “Regardless of confidently utilizing date labels, many customers misinterpreted the labels and continued to misconceive even after studying instructional messaging that defined the labels’ that means.”

Lower than half (46 p.c) of examine respondents knew that the “BEST If Used By” label particularly signifies that meals high quality might deteriorate after the date on the label. Lower than one-quarter (24 p.c) of examine respondents knew that the “USE By” label implies that meals is just not fit for human consumption after the date on the label.

Researchers explored if framing the messages with values like saving cash or avoiding waste, would affect the effectiveness of messages at growing shopper understanding. Not one of the seven worth frames examined was considerably more practical at growing understanding than one other, however all messages considerably elevated shopper’s common understanding of the labels.

After viewing instructional messages, 37 p.c of customers nonetheless didn’t perceive the particular that means of the “BEST If Used By” label and 48 p.c didn’t perceive the particular that means of the “USE By” label.

Misunderstanding meals date labeling is frequent and academic communications are wanted to enhance shopper understanding, based on a brand new examine. Credit score: Journal of Vitamin Training and Conduct

“Responses to the survey counsel that date labels are so acquainted that some customers consider they’re boring, self-explanatory, or frequent sense regardless of misunderstanding the labels,” mentioned Ms. Turvey. “Unwarranted confidence and the familiarity of date labels might make customers much less attentive to instructional messaging that explains the meals trade’s labeling system.”

Future communication campaigns should seize the eye of people that assume they already know what date labels imply, discover the data tedious, or are happy with a tough understanding of labels. Educating customers in regards to the that means of the labels has rising implications for meals waste and meals security because the 2-date labeling system turns into extra extensively adopted and beneficial properties help from non-profits and authorities establishments.

Reference: “Influence of Messaging Technique on Shopper Understanding of Food Date Labels” by Catherine Turvey, MPH; Meghan Moran, PhD; Jennifer Sacheck, PhD; Ashley Arashiro, MPH; Qiushi Huang, MS, MPH; Katie Heley, MPH; Erica Johnston; and Roni Neff, PhD, 1 Could 2021, Journal of Vitamin Training and Conduct.
DOI: 10.1016/j.jneb.2021.03.007

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