Free Food Saving Memo

Reminder to check before you chuck

Free Food Saving Memo

Do you know the difference between a best-before and a display-until date? If not, the likelihood is you're throwing a lot of food away unnecessarily. We've a free food labelling memo for you to print out and stick on your fridge, so you can check before you chuck.

Step 1: Choose black & white or colour and print out

Step 2: Grab a magnet and stick it to your fridge

Use-by vs best-before dates

As we say in the food saving memo above, when it comes to the different labels on food there are a few key points to remember:

Use-by dates:

  • Mean exactly what they say - eating anything that's past its use-by date is risky, even if it looks and smells fine.
  • This applies to perishable foods, like dairy, meat, fish and chilled meals.
  • If something's past its use-by date, it's best to bin it.

Best-before dates:

  • These usually don't have anything to do with safety - it's just the manufacturer's view of when food is no longer at its optimum quality.
  • This applies to longer-lasting foods, like frozen meals, tins, sugar, pasta, breakfast cereals and dried lentils. (Though NOT eggs - see below).
  • If something's past its best-before date, you don't necessarily need to chuck it - use its appearance and taste to decide. It might have lost some of its flavour or texture though.
  • The further away the best-before date was when an item was bought (ie, the longer its shelf life), the longer it's likely to last after the best-before date's passed.

Display-until and sell-by dates:

  • These are there to warn shop staff when to take a product off the shelves. They're not instructions for consumers (although you might be able to use them to get a discount).
  • They typically apply to fresh produce.
  • As a consumer, you can ignore these labels - check use-by and best-before dates instead.