New Study Shows 47.6% of Americans Eat Food Past Its Expiry Date

Let's Eat LA

How the recent rise in food inflation has more people skipping expiration dates on food
46.1% now make their own judgements about food expiry datesCredit: Adobe

(Los Angeles, California) - If you’ve ever bought a food item, eaten it, and then wondered if you were going to die, you’re not alone.

And if you’ve ever thought about throwing away perfectly good food because of an expiration date on the package, you’re also not alone.

The number of Americans who eat food after its expiration date, or remove "bad parts" from food so the rest can be eaten, has increased in recent years, according to a new study, 2022 US F&B Report: How Food Inflation is Changing American Diets.

People are changing their shopping habits when it comes to food expiration dates
Americans are changing their shopping habits when it comes to food expiration datesCredit: Adobe

The report from the consumer research company Attest has found that people are changing their habits when it comes to food expiration dates due to food inflation.

To understand how the cost of food inflation has affected grocery shopping habits, Attest conducted a survey of 2,000 working Americans.

They discovered that the average weekly grocery bill has increased by about $14 due to inflation. But they are also "tightening the reign" on their food shopping budget.

The study showed that 47.6% are eating foods that are beyond their use-by dates

Almost half of the respondents said they sometimes eat food products that have already expired.

Seventeen percent of them said they started doing so recently, and thirty-eight percent said they intentionally remove "bad parts" from food to make it more palatable.

While six in ten are buying food close to their end expiration date to save money.

This suggests, the Attest survey says, that “inflation is leading people to reassess what’s safe to eat.”
Which foods will American eat beyond their expiry datesCredit: Attest US F&B report 2022

Do Food Expiration Dates Really Mean Anything?

Despite the lack of scientific evidence supporting the validity of food expiration dates, Attest claims that most food products are safe to eat past the indicated date.

When asked which types of food products they would eat if they still smelled and tasted good, half of the respondents said they would eat cookies, potato chips, and cereal.

On the other hand, only 17% of the respondents said they would eat meat products that have already expired.

The recent study also suggests that older shoppers are less likely to trust expiration dates on foods, while younger shoppers follow the expiry dates.

“Perhaps we can conclude that those with more life experience, who understand how to identify what is and what isn’t safe to eat, are less likely to rely on expiration dates and subsequently waste less food,” Attest said.

Despite the economic belt-tightening taking place in the US today, more than three out of every four groceries thrown away are still unconsumed or partially consumed.

How much food is wasted in California?

In California, nearly 6 million tons of food is wasted every year.

According to CalRecycle, "This represents about 18 percent of all the material that goes to landfills"

Final thoughts

The findings suggest that consumers are becoming more comfortable with the idea of eating foods that have passed their prime to save money.

Many cost-conscious consumers are forced to make their own food safety decisions due to the rising cost of groceries.

There's little science behind expiration dates, according to the Attest study. That doesn't mean you should eat your expired food products, but it does mean you might be able to get away with it.

What do you think about this?

Share your thoughts in the comments and feel free to share this article on social media and with your friends and family, if you'd like.

Disclaimer: This article is only for educational and informational purposes.

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