Scratch-off food freshness labels cut food waste

Sell-by dates often end up confusing customers into throwing away perfectly good food – a problem which has now been addressed by designer Lyndsey Young.

Scratch-off food freshness labels cut food waste

Only use-by dates signify a potential food safety concern, but research has shown that best-before is often mistaken for a safety warning. Young aims to cut through the confusion with her Count On It product – easy-to-use, scratch-off food freshness labels which show at a glance if food is still fresh and safe to eat, or if it should be thrown away.

For instance, the labels eliminate the problem that arises when a jar has been opened and put in the fridge, and the user forgets how long it has been there. The labels can be easily stored in the fridge and kept ready for use.

With the help of her local Business Link ( Young was put in touch with people who have given her advice on protecting her ideas, sales and production.

One of Young’s first successes came when Lakeland agreed to stock the labels in stores nationwide from January 2009. Since then, networking through the Twitter website has helped her business to take off internationally. Through Twitter contacts she has arranged a distributor in the US and is talking to one in Australia.

Young is now looking for more distributors in the UK and abroad.

Not only do the labels help to reduce food waste – it is estimated that the average family throws away up to £610 worth of edible food each year – but customers are also finding them useful for labelling things such as medicines, contact lenses, cooker hood filters or anything where a reminder of an expiry date is needed.

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