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Date labels 2021
DCA rapport, nr. 197, 2021

Af Susanne hansen and Liisa Lähteenmäki

The labels ‘best before’ and ‘use by’ convey two different messages. A product labelled ‘use by’ should be thrown out once the date has expired for safety reasons. A product labelled ‘best before’ assures consumers of the quality of the product, up until the given date. However, studies show, that consumers do not necessarily differentiate between these two types of labels. On one hand, this may cause consumers to either waste food unnecessarily, because they throw products labelled ‘best before’ away, or put them at risk for contracting foodborne illnesses, because they use products labelled ‘use by’ after the date has expired.
Little is known about, how date labels contribute to consumers’ risk perception, nor do we understand what roles product types and the time beyond the expiry date plays in risk perception. The aim of this report is to explore, how consumer perceptions of the risks associated with expired date labels food depend and change with time in selected product categories. The report is based on two qualitative studies; an interview study among 15 consumers, and three focus group studies. This report builds on the work presented in the report Datomærker 2020.

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