Extending product life to reduce food waste

WRAP research has shown that extending product life by just one day could save 250,000 tonnes of food waste in the UK annually. This is without even changing products or packaging. We estimate that shoppers could save upwards of £500m, and businesses could save £100m a year in waste prevention alone.
Below you can access WRAP’s latest guidance, research and case studies to help your business extend product life and reduce waste for your customers.

The business case for extending product life

WRAP undertook research to demonstrate the business case for preventing food waste by reviewing and extending product life. This led to our five recommendations to increase product life without compromising safety or quality.

See a summary of the report or the full feasibility study.


Guidance to challenge and extend product life

Food Waste Prevention – a guide to help your business challenge existing product life and ‘open’ life: this guide is structured around the 5 key stages for extending product life: fact finding, opportunity identification, validation, implementation and review and embed.

Food Waste Prevention – a guide to help your business increase ‘available’ product life for consumers: this guide includes sections for manufacturers and retailers. It provides a number of questions to ask when reviewing product life during supply chain operations, forecasting and demand planning, buying and product development. The responses can be used to support further conversations with key stakeholders when developing specific actions.

Food Waste Prevention a worked example: This document should be read alongside the guidance listed above. It is structured around the 5 key stages for investigating the potential for extending product life and has been based on the example of using a raw meat product. A blank template is also available.

Webinar on extending product life: this short webinar runs through WRAP’s findings regarding extending product life and the steps we recommend companies take to challenge and make changes to product life settings.

Examples of how retailers and manufacturers are extending product life

Reducing soft fruit waste in the home through packaging innovation, looking at Tesco strawberries and grapes, and examining a number of packaging solutions.

Helping consumers to reduce fresh produce waste, by making use of advanced packaging solutions, looking at Sainsbury’s ripe and ready range (e.g. pears, peaches and nectarines) and examining the use of reversible thermochromic inks to encourage consumers to store fruit adequately.

The Co-operative Food - Find out how working with suppliers to optimise product life will save The Co-operative £5m.

Greenvale Potato Washing - Technical improvements through an innovative washing system help extend potato product life and reduce water usage.

Ocado Chilled Distribution - Ocado’s direct delivery model avoids breaking the chill chain from the point of processing or packaging through to delivery at a customer’s door.

Sainsbury’s Preventing Food Waste - An experiment run by Sainsbury’s and one of its suppliers, Cranswick, found that increasing product life led to a considerable reduction in store waste costs and increased on-shelf availability. 

GS1 Batch Identification for Fresh Foods - Find out how more about how product-life information can be incorporated into bar codes.

Further information

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If you have a comment or question, you can get in touch by emailing foodspecialist@wrap.org.uk