Best before, use by, sell by…..What’s the difference?

It’s amazing how much food is thrown away based on two little words. We’re going to learn the difference between the two and it won’t take long. Lol!


“Best Before”

You usually see this on things like eggs, can or frozen goods or some fruit and veg. It means that before the date shown the product is at it’s best. It can still be consumed after this date. And generally you’ll know when the produce has gone off by the mould and pongy smell.



**Baking tip for eggs! If you bake regularly, don’t keep your eggs in the fridge. Keep them out so that they are always at room temperature, the best temp for baking. They will still last long as long as there are no cracks in the shell.**
Use By” or “End Off”

Now this is the label you really need to look out for. This means that the food should not be consumed after this date. But, in saying that, I have seen foods with this label that did not go bad after the date given. Food companies usually give a couple of days leighway just to be safe. But if you are able to tell when food has gone bad or not then trust your own judgement and waste your food just because the label tells you to.




“Sell by Date”

So really, what does this even mean? To be honest, not much. This label isn’t really for us. It’s for the vendor who is selling the product. It actually tells us very little about the “Use by” date of the product. So please don’t go throwing away food because of this pretty useless label. Use your judgement, give it a prod, smell it, investigate the product before deciding to throw it away.  It is strange, however, that when referring to the use by date we tend to say Sell By date!

I didn’t seem to have anything in the house with a “Sell by” date label. So no pics!


So that’s it. I told you it wouldn’t take long!

Understanding these labels will not only save you money, and keep your bins emptier, it goes a long way to reducing food waste, which, in a world where there are so many without food, is extremely important.

We produce and waste too much food. Food that could feed so many people who are going without as we speak.

If you are interested in preventing excessive food waste then you may want to download Olio. It is a food sharing app, where you can give away good food that would otherwise go to waste! (Disclaimer: I’m not getting paid for that little plug! Lol!)

You may also want to join The Gleaning Network. The Gleaning Network is an organisation that coordinates between farms and volunteers to harvest produce that would other get burnt to the ground or wasted due to cancelled contracts between vendors and farmers. Contracts can be cancelled for something as silly as The apples are too big or the carrots are too knobbly!

Once the foods have been harvested, it is then distributed to charities and organisations that need the food, mainly to feed the homeless and low or no income families.

I hope this post has been helpful. If you have any more ideas on wasting less food please comment below!

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