A new method to inform people of the expiry of perishable food items is to depict freshness dating. However experts feel this move is risky.
Freshness dating could backfire in big way, according to a forthcoming article in this month's Journal of Food Science. Joint research by Cornell University and the U.S. Army Research Labs in Natick, MA have shown that as a food approaches its freshness "Best if used by" date, people rate the food as less tasty and less healthy.
"Freshness dating tricks both our minds and our tastebuds," said Brian Wansink (Ph.D), Cornell Professor and director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab. A panel of 36 consumers rated yogurts with freshness dates that were set to expire in a month, in a day, yesterday, or a month ago. The day after the yogurts were labeled as having expired, people rated the yogurts as tasting less fresh and even as less healthy. "It doesn't seem to matter how far in the future something is labeled as being fresh, people either code the food in their minds as being 'fresh' or as being 'not fresh.' There's no in-between even though its perfectly safe," according to Alan O. Wright of the U.S. Army Research Labs in Natick, MA.
Cornell Food & Brand Lab