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Retail Intelligence

Over 8 In 10 Reviews 'Best Before' Date Before Purchasing Products

By Donna Ahern
Over 8 In 10 Reviews 'Best Before' Date Before Purchasing Products

When it comes to the type of information being reviewed by customers before purchasing everyday grocery items, just over 8 in 10 (82%) will review the “best before” date on the product, with a similar proportion (80%) reviewing the “use by” date.

This research, conducted on behalf of Retail Intelligence by Empathy Research, amongst a nationally representative sample of 1,021 adults aged 18+, sought to understand the impact of best before and use by dates on shopper behaviour.

The review of best before dates is most prominent when purchasing from the milk (57%), bread (56%), meat (55%) eggs (52%) and yoghurt (51%) categories, with use by dates also more likely to be reviewed when purchasing these types of products.

Best before dates are deemed to be extremely important when purchasing from the milk (85%), meat (85%) and yoghurt (77%) category, but are deemed to be of lesser importance when purchasing fruit (52%), butter (51%) and vegetables (48%). Use by dates are deemed to be equally as important in the milk, meat and yoghurt categories, while also playing more of a role in the bread and egg category than recorded in relation to best before dates. Indeed, when forced to choose, almost half (47%) of adults would claim that the use by date has the most impact when they are purchasing eggs.

However, while both best before and use by dates are deemed to be important in the decision-making process, there is a sizeable proportion of consumers who may overlook this information in search of a bargain. Almost half (47%) of consumers would often buy from the section in the supermarket where food is due to expire that day or shortly after, with just over 4 in 10 (41%) claiming that if the food looks good they will eat it regardless of any best before of use by date.


For further information and more in-depth analysis on consumer behaviour when it comes to best before and use by dates, please contact Robbie Clarke at Empathy Research.

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