Best Before Project is a not-for-profit organisation established for the benefit of the community. Its aims are:
1 To set up, maintain and expand a regional and local collection and redistribution network for food that is approaching or has passed its “best before” date that would otherwise be sent to landfill, thereby helping to tackle the problem of waste and reducing its environmental impact.
2 To raise public awareness regarding the amount of food being wasted in the UK because of the misinterpretation of "best before" date labelling and to help people to share and use rather than waste food.
3 To promote environmental improvement by educating, encouraging and assisting the local population in environmental practices and working in partnership with similar groups and organisations with the common aim to reduce food waste.
4 To promote social justice and fairness, ethical living, health and wellbeing of the residents of the area where BB Project is active, and to work together as residents irrespective of age, sex, ethnicity, ability, religion or political views.
Our organisation is about food and hunger, about misinterpretation and waste, about overproduction and its consequent environmental and social impact.
The current levels of food waste at every stage of the production and distribution channel are enormous - according to some estimates we could feed the whole world population with the food currently produced with no one going hungry or undernourished.
Best Before Project points to one very important cause of unnecessary food waste - just two words on a packet of - say - rice, pasta or tinned tomatoes: ‘BEST BEFORE’...
Vast amounts of perfectly good food are being thrown away by food businesses and consumers alike because of a simple misunderstanding - food approaching or past its ‘best before’ date is safe to consume and legal to distribute.
UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and UK Food Standards Agency:
‘Best before’ will be appropriate for the vast majority of foods and indicates the period for which a food can reasonably be expected to retain its optimal condition (e.g. it will not be stale) and so relates to the quality of the food. (...) ‘Best before’ dates relate to food quality, including taste, texture, aroma and appearance, whilst ‘use by’ relate to food safety. (...) It is not an offence to sell food after the ‘best before’ date relating to it, provided it still complies with the Food Safety Act 1990 and the General Food Regulations 2004. (...)’
First of all, we want to restore the public’s understanding of the distinction between USE BY and BEST BEFORE dates on food. As part of our BEST BEFORE, STILL GOOD AFTER campaign we encourage food wholesalers and retailers not to dispose of food approaching or past its ‘best before’ date, as is currently an all too common practice, but to either SELL the food at a discount or to DONATE it to local charities - directly or via Best Before Project’s redistribution network.
We educate consumers and recipient charities about the meaning of ‘best before’ labels, organise sampling sessions at various events and redirect all unsold food approaching or past its ‘best before’ labels from participating suppliers to various charities and food banks. With people willing to consume food past its ‘best before’ date, food wholesalers and retailers will be able to sell nearly everything they have in stock instead of wasting it. This will also reduce demand from wholesalers for manufactured food, and in consequence should decrease the vast overproduction of food. Achieving such a new equilibrium between food supply and demand in the Western world not only will help to protect the natural environment but also help to alleviate the inefficiency of the global food chain and counteract food price rises, and even food riots in some areas of the globe.
While re-educating food distributors and the public, our 2nd important goal is to set up an effective network of re-distribution of food being wasted right now. And we are well on the case! Perfectly good food that would otherwise be sent to landfill is collected from the retailers /wholesalers on a local/regional basis and re-distributed locally to charities and food banks helping various groups of people in need. Any excess should be grouped in central warehouses where the products would be sorted and then shipped to those parts of the world where hunger is a real problem. The basic elements of the network – regional storage spaces – should be served by independent local teams, with exchange of information between the neighbouring ones, and movement of stock regulated by Best Before Project’s central office.
This is our plan against the current levels of unnecessary and absurd waste. Best Before Project – the project for the sake of everyone on this planet.