From motor shows to awards, brand activations to broadcast, Goose Live Events Worldwide deliver all kinds of live events across the globe. In 2020, like most of us, they were gearing up for another year full of activity but we all know how that went. Fast forward two years and, with event cancellations and a serious lack of hot weather in 2021, the team had established a surplus of bottled water and noticed that the stock was about to pass its best before date. Because Goose didn’t have a suitable occasion to use them before the best before deadline, they got in touch with Event Cycle to see how we could put the water to good use.
We don’t often deal with food and drink donations at Event Cycle, as there are some well-known organisations that already do this very well. But we can take non-perishables on occasion when there is a need in the area and, on this occasion, there was.
The homeless charity, New Beginnings Reading serves the communities of Reading and Greater Berkshire. Based in an old pub, the organisation is a hub for those in need providing all the essentials to those that need it most. From clothing to accommodation, signposting to support services and aiding with independent living, the team at New Beginnings do their best to provide as much as they can to individuals facing poverty and financial hardship.
A large part of their service is the provision of food via a community fridge and an all-day café complete with hot meal service, bingo nights, quizzes and always a friendly face to talk to. All of this food is given out for free. The water bottles we ‘saved’ from Goose will be put into the community fridge for anyone to take away as they need.
But what about those best before dates?
Turns out they’re not as important as they’re made out to be and products can even be sold legally once they’re out of date (Best before and display until only).
“The display until and best before [dates] are merely sales tools designed to pinpoint the moment when food quality peaks. There is little evidence to corroborate the idea that taste, quality, or nutritional value decreases after the ‘Best Before’ date.”
City Harvest, 2019
And City Harvest would know as they rescue tonnes of surplus food from all across London every year.
Trading Standards advice across a number of councils also state that:
“Foods marked with best-before or best-before-end dates may be sold after their marked dates, provided that they remain of good quality and are fit for human consumption. In these circumstances, it is advisable to ensure that customers know that the date has expired before they make the decision to buy. “
Trading Standards, 2022.
The only exception to this rule is eggs.
And finally, on the government's own Food Standards Agency website it clearly mentions that “best before dates are about quality” and products can be consumed after this date, it just may not be as good as before. It is certainly not a risk to health as used by dates may be.
In conclusion, the next time you query your cupboard and are tempted to chuck stuff away, think twice and try to avoid unnecessary food waste by getting over that best before date and eating it anyway. We hope that those out of date water bottles get used for what they were intended to and with any luck recycled afterwards as well.
Want to find ways to avoid waste at your next event? Speak to Event Cycle today
City Harvest, 2022. City Harvest – Written evidence (FPO0055). Available at: https://committees.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/253/pdf/ (Accessed 21 April 2022)
Food Standards Agency, 19 March 2021. Best before and use-by dates. Available at: https://www.food.gov.uk/safety-hygiene/best-before-and-use-by-dates (Accessed 21 April 2022)
Trading Standards, 2022. Trading Standards Institute Advice: Date and lot marking of prepacked food. Available at: https://www.bromley.gov.uk/leaflet/122624/3/757/d (Accessed 21 April 2022)