- Dick BoerCEO, Ahold
- Rodney McMullenCEO, Kroger
- W. Craig JelinekCEO, Costco
- Todd JonesCEO, Publix
- Robert MillerCEO, Safeway Inc.
Stop using date labels that confuse people into throwing away good food
My Greek grandmother fed a big family in Greece often in times of hardship, by turning every bit of food she had into a delicious meal. Growing up with her as an example, I took for granted that doing everything possible to avoid food waste was the norm. But during my work leading Feedback, an international environmental charity, I quickly discovered how wasteful the global food system really is. More than a third of the world’s food supply is wasted, enough to feed the planet’s 1 billion hungry people three times over. 48 million Americans are food insecure, yet the country wastes approximately 40% of its food.
To fix this problem, an easy first step is to simplify the system of date labels on our food products. Right now supermarkets use a wide mix of date labels that confuse people into throwing away good food unnecessarily. Experts estimate that this confusion is responsible for 20% of avoidable household food waste. Often these date labels are just guesses about peak quality, yet people misinterpret the dates as scientific warnings not to eat the food after that date.
Supermarkets are key in solving our date labelling problem. We are asking the CEOs of the six largest grocers in the US to publicly commit to creating a system of date labels that is clear and doesn't confuse their customers.
There are already moves to pass federal legislation on this bipartisan issue. Walmart has already asked its private brand suppliers to adopt a standardized date label for all foods that do not require date labels for safety reasons.
It is time that the leaders of these Big Six supermarkets publicly committed to taking action on this issue. It's totally unacceptable to allow 40% of food in America to be wasted while millions go hungry. With your help in reforming confusing date labels, we can move one step closer to resolving this outrage.
Add your name calling for Walmart, Ahold, Kroger, Safeway Inc., Costco, and Publix to stop confusing customers into throwing away good food.
The first step is to acknowledge the problem and commit to solving it – can the CEOs of these six grocers promise to work together to confront this issue?
- President and CEO, Walmart International
- CEO, Ahold
- CEO, Kroger
- CEO, Costco
W. Craig Jelinek
- CEO, Publix
- CEO, Safeway Inc.
American consumers and businesses spend $218 billion on food that is never eaten.
Estimates show that 20% of consumers’ avoidable food waste comes from confusion over the meaning of date labels. By standardizing date labeling systems across the United States, we can take an important first step in reducing households’ and retailers’ food waste.
As concerned citizens, we are petitioning the six largest supermarkets corporations to use their weight and influence to implement a modern, easy-to-understand system of date labels for all of the food sold in their stores. We need a simple system that does not confuse consumers.
This date labeling system should be based on scientific evidence-based criteria.
- Walmart has taken the step of asking its private brand suppliers to adopt a standardized date label for all foods that do not require date labels for safety reasons. It’s now time to bring all other retailers and food producers on board with a system like this, making a standardized approach the rule, not the exception.
- There are moves to pass federal legislation on this bipartisan issue of standardizing date labels to clear up the confusion. (See https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/5298/text?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22pingree%22%5D%7D
- The Food Law and Policy Clinic at Harvard has produced excellent research on how a better date label system should work and teamed up with NRDC in a great report on date labels advocating their simplification. (See https://www.nrdc.org/sites/default/files/dating-game-report.pdf
Date label standardization will save both the supermarkets and their customers money, keep people safer by highlighting clearly any foods that do have a safety risk, reduce loss at product at supermarkets and households, and help food redistribution organizations rescue a greater proportion of surplus food.
Niki Charalampopoulou with Feedback started this petition with a single signature, and now has 30,142 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.