Kroger Changes Date Labels for Private Brands

Kroger Changes Date Labels for Private Brands
All Kroger private label products will include either "use by" for food safety or "best if used by" for food quality

The Kroger Co. is standardizing date labels for its Our Brands food products, with simpler, easier-to-understand product quality and safety information. All labels will either include:

  • "Use By" to represent food safety: If a customer reads "use by" followed by a date, it indicates the deadline for when it's no longer safe to eat.
  • "Best if Used By" to represent food quality: If a customer reads "best if used by" followed by a date, it indicates the deadline for guaranteed freshness but doesn't affect the product's safety.

The labels will include multiple product categories, including dairy, deli, bakery, fresh and frozen. The changes are part of Kroger's Zero Hunger | Zero Waste initiative.

"Kroger recognizes food waste often takes place in our customers' kitchens simply because product date labels can be confusing, resulting in safe-to-eat food regularly being tossed out," said Howard Popoola, Kroger's VP of corporate food technology and regulatory compliance. "As Kroger works to reduce food waste throughout our business and our communities, we are standardizing and simplifying Our Brands products' date labels, providing clearer guidance to our customers."

ReFED, a Berkeley, Calif.-based nonprofit committed to reducing food waste, has found in its research that 20% of avoidable is discarded every year because of consumer date labeling, so it's applauding Kroger's efforts. 

Kroger's date label transition has already started and will be completed in 2020. The new labels are in line with the two phrases recommended by the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) in 2017. 

Employing nearly half a million associates who serve more than 11 million customers daily through a seamless digital shopping experience and 2,761 retail food stores under a variety of banners, Cincinnati-based Kroger is No. 2 on Progressive Grocer’s 2019 Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States.

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