Recently a large manufacturer adapted the packaging on some of their food products’ ‘best before’ dates to include a new message that reads ‘often good after’. The message has been designed to help tackle the problem of food waste among consumers unaware of the difference between ‘best before’ and ‘use by’ dates. For those of us that work in the food manufacturing industry, this may seem obvious, but it’s estimated that around 53% of Europeans don’t know the difference.
What’s the difference?
As a general rule, if a product has passed its ‘best before' date it’s still safe to eat, food that has passed its ‘use by' date isn’t. It’s illegal for a retailer to sell a product after its ‘use by’ date has expired, but for ‘best before’ dates it’s a different story. The ‘best before' date on a product – like on one of our Hammy's Selection Boxes – gives you a general guide as to when the flavour and texture may change.
Ideally you should try to store chocolate at a steady temperature and away from moisture, as changes in temperature and exposure to moisture can cause something called blooming. Commonly this can occur if chocolate has been kept in the fridge. Similarly, when chocolate comes into contact with moisture, blooming can appear in the form of small white patches. Cupboards and pantries are ideal conditions to help prevent these, but make sure they are dry as damp conditions can affect the quality of chocolate and even cause it to go mouldy.
All of Moo Free’s products feature a ‘best before’ date rather than a ‘use by’ date and can last for years if stored in the right conditions. So in the unlikely event that you can wait until that date has passed before you tuck into our chocolate, you can be safe in the knowledge that it will still taste good for years to come.