The effect of date labels on willingness to consume dairy products: implications for food waste reduction

B Thompson*, L Toma, AP Barnes, C Revoredo-Giha

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)
709 Downloads (Pure)


In the context of national and cross-national efforts to reduce the quantity of food wasted by consumers, there is growing interest in the role of date labelling. Recent proposals by policy makers and the food industry to address dairy product waste have included streamlining date-label application and encouraging the use of best-before dates where possible. In order for these measures to have a positive impact on food waste, consumers must not only know the difference between date types, but also be prepared to act on this information and consume products after the best-before date. Through a survey of 548 Scottish consumers we investigated the relationship between product type, date type, reduced labels and willingness to consume (WTC) dairy products in relation to the both the best-before date and the use-by date. We also examined the factors associated with different levels of WTC products in relation to the bestbefore date including knowledge, risk perceptions and trust. Our results suggest that on their own, the effect on food waste of applying best-before dates to dairy is likely to be small. In order for such changes to be effective, consumer communication that goes beyond improving expiry-date knowledge and addresses the multifaceted nature of related risk perceptions and conceptions of date-label trust will be required.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)124 - 134
Number of pages11
JournalWaste Management
Early online date28 May 2018
Publication statusPrint publication - Aug 2018

Bibliographical note



  • Consumer behaviour
  • Date labels
  • Food waste
  • Knowledge
  • Risk perception
  • Trust


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