The use-by dates on food packaging have been a continual source of frustration for consumers for years. Differing language can seem to have contradictory meanings, and leave buyers unsure as to what these statements even mean: do the "sell by" and "enjoy dates" actually refer to foods going bad, or simply when they're best? An indicator can also have a special timeline associated with a particular product.
Dana Gunders of the Natural Resources Defense Council recently talked about the attitudes that some users have toward food dates. Since there's no federal regulation for most food product dates, the company and their audience might have different understandings of what the numbers would mean.
"My observation is that even people who ignore the dates think they're breaking a rule," Gunders said to the Wall Street Journal last December. "The manufacturer is not trying to tell you to throw a product out at that date.
According to Consumer Reports, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack addressed the problem with packaging dates at a recent Food Waste Summit. Inaccurate or misleading food dates have been a concern for those who think that buyers are throwing food out unnecessarily.
The differing "life span" of foods might require more explanation than just a simple string of numbers. Culture Cheat Sheet said that spice mixes can last for multiple years, while sugar, corn starch and honey can stay in good condition indefinitely, although the last of these needs to be "kept dry" to do so.
All of this shows the many factors at play when businesses try to think about food and beverage labels. Since this can be a time-consuming process, make the actual labeling easier with a professional-grade color label printer. Visit our U.S. store here or our Canadian store here to see several different brand name options.