Experts estimate that over a typical year half a billion pounds worth of food is thrown away nationally because it is past its Best Before date.
But much of that food probably did not need to be discarded.
Thanks to funding from Renewi, Mexborough Food Bank is planning to make food bank users aware of the difference between Best Before and Use By dates and how to store food correctly to keep it at its best.
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Understanding the difference could help hard-pressed families reduce their food bills.
Waste minimisation charity Wrap estimates that every year around 180,000 tonnes of food is discarded because it is past its Best Before date, with people believing it needs to be thrown away.
WRAP says the Best Before date remains safe, and perfectly good to eat for days, weeks, months or even years after the date – depending on the type of food and if it has been stored correctly.
Mexborough Food Bank was recently awarded £3,000 from the Renewi Corporate Social Responsibility Fund. The fund was developed to support communities around the award-winning waste treatment facility at Manvers.
The money will be used to deliver life skills sessions to help food bank users understand food labelling and when food is perfectly all right to eat and when it needs to be thrown away.
Sean Gibbons, Mexborough Food Bank Manager, said: “We want to not just provide emergency food parcels to help alleviate current poverty and hardship but also to teach people essential life skills which will help them eat better on a budget moving forward and reduce food waste through increased awareness and education.
“Personal budgeting and understanding food labelling is essential to equip people with the life skills to eat healthily on a tight budget. This is even more important due to the current Cost of Living Crisis where individuals and families are struggling to afford food due to increasing household expenses.
“Whilst many people are not able to afford to eat well, the amount of good food we waste is increasing due to lack of education or awareness. The £3,000 funding will support us to run more healthy eating life skill sessions for families to advise them on healthy eating and using the fridge to best effect.”
Community Education Liaison Officer Abi Reid, who is based at the household waste treatment facility at Manvers, said: “The Renewi Corporate Social Responsibility Fund is about supporting projects that make life better for people and the environment in our area. Mexborough Food Bank is working to help reduce food waste and looking at how we can use precious resources more effectively.
“The £3,000 of funding from Renewi will help the food bank to expand its outreach work and give more people the knowledge and confidence to understand food labelling, help them to reduce food waste and make best use of household budgets.”