The most common reason is short-dated or expired food items that are returned by retailers or has too short a period before the sell-by date to send into the trade. Nonetheless, these items retain their properties for reasonably long periods after the published best before dates. Additionally, there are ranges that have been discontinued or new product launches that have failed to catch on, and sometimes even outer packaging that has been damaged in transit and is therefore unsuitable for the general retail trade from a brand image point of view.
Up until now the options of what to do with the obsolete stock were limited. In many instances, the products end up being dumped, which carries additional costs for the manufacturer. Estimates vary, but there is an indication that between 30 – 50% of food produced globally never makes it onto a plate.