Eurobarometer On Food Waste And Labelling

Eating and drinking take centre stage at this time of year. But there are about 100 million tonnes of food thrown out every year in the EU. Eurobarometer have been asking people whose fault this is and how things could be improved.

Irish people, in common with most Europeans, think that consumers have to take a lot of the blame. 71% of us think that individual consumers play an important role in preventing food waste. Next in line are hotels, restaurants and other food service outlets, with 52% of Irish respondents pointing the finger at them.

While almost half of most Europeans think the public sector has to play its part, just 28% of Irish people share this view.

Most of us emphasise individual responsibility when it comes how to reduce food waste, with many saying better shopping and meal planning would help.

Eurobarometer looked closely at date marking and asked people if they thought “use before” and “best before” dates helped to prevent waste. Most Irish and Europeans thought that information about storing and preparation of food did help to improve matters.

Irish people are pretty confident that they don’t need best-before dates on less perishable foods like rice or coffee – 60% say they don’t need these dates marked on packets, a bit more than the EU average of 54%.

While most respondents recognise their own important role in food waste prevention, many Europeans still don’t understand date marking properly, and this contributes to the waste of safe, edible food.

The findings of the poll will help in policy making around food labelling and information to consumers. It confirms the need to continue educating the public on date marking, while taking into account the varying needs of different consumer groups in the EU Member States.

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