Smell-By Labels To Sniff Out Unnecessary Food Waste

9 months ago

5 October 2020 - Food waste initiative Too Good To Go today launches its Nose Sense campaign – cutting the nonsense around confusing date labelling on foods. With this, it unveils new Smell-By labels – a series of scratch-n-sniff stickers1 to help consumers let their nose dictate if their food is Too Good To Go, or if it is actually inedible.

660k tonnes of food is needlessly wasted in the UK alone, and this number has barely changed since 2012. Much of this is down to a lack of understanding of what different date labels on food mean. This campaign encourages use of our senses – from nostrils to plain common sense – as a better guide to when food is no longer edible.

Smell By Labels – Sniffing out £625m Food Waste

Too Good To Go’s Smell By labels are scratch n’ sniff – containing the scents that four very-popular but hugely-wasted2 foods give off when they are no longer edible. Half of Brits simply obey the date label3 and only one third think the likes of eggs are edible past the date label3, but by “nose-training” ourselves on these key smells4, consumers will avoid using Best Before date as gospel, helping to prevent the £625million of these four foods alone that are unnecessarily wasted each year.

The labels currently cover these staple fridge and store cupboard ingredients: eggs, juice, beer and oats:

Too Good To Go hopes that a better understanding of the smells that four of the most widely-used Best Before foods give out when off, will save them from being thrown out purely based by their date – a common-sense shortcut in evaluating when food is truly off.

The World’s First S’Mellier – Nostrils For Change

To help create permanent behaviour change, ensure authority, and add a touch of flair to proceedings, Too Good To Go has partnered with the World’s First S’Mellier, Dariush Alavi5. With a decade of independent scent expertise, as well as having nostrils insured for £1million and a spiffing wardrobe, his nostril superpowers were deployed to help prove when these foods are still too good to go.

Too Good To Go – The Movement

The intention is for these labels to form part of a broader education initiative by Too Good To Go - firstly to ensure producers use the right food labels on products, but also to encourage greater consumer awareness around what the different food labels mean to help tackle the food waste problem.

Jamie Crummie, Co-Founder of Too Good To Go says: "Our love for food is stronger than ever since lockdown, but the food waste issue hurts both the environment and our pockets. Our mission is to help everyone fight food waste together. We want labelling to be clearer across the board, but also to help consumers better understand when they really must throw food away - and these Smell By labels are a vital part of that journey.”

Scratch-n-sniff technologies have a history in advising consumers on how to determine particular smells. While often associated with rewards at schools, these cards have even been used to help households identify the smell of a gas leak.


Notes to Editors

Sticker packs available on request 

Total UK food waste in the UK of selected best before foods:

  • Beer: £150million and 74,000 tonnes of avoidable waste per year

  • Eggs: £75million and 24,000 tonnes of avoidable waste per year

  • Fruit juices: £190 million and 160,000 tonnes of avoidable waste per year

  • Oats: £210million and 75,000 tonnes of avoidable waste per year

TOTAL: £625million and 333,000 tonnes of avoidable waste per year

New UK Survey Stats (2,000 UK; 14th September):

Since lockdown:

  • ⅓ Brits better plan their food trips

  • ¼ buying more frozen; 1/5 buying more fresh fruit

  • 15% already stockpiling for a second lockdown

Nose Sense:

  • ¾ 46-54yr olds trust their nostrils, less than half of 16-24 yr olds

  • 1/3 brits are guided solely by the label as to when to throw food away

  • Only 1/3 brits think eggs can be eaten past the date on packaging

  • Only 1/3 brits care about the damage to the environment (¾ overall care about money, Glasgow and Newcastle most environmentally conscious regions)

Smell-By Foods

  • Over half of Brits throw away eggs past its date

  • Under half of Brits throw away juice past its date

  • Only ¼ Brits would reconsider throwing away eggs, juice, oats and beer if past its date label date – and less than one in ten of 16-24 yr olds

While Best Before Dates are often a fraction of the time it takes to spoil, these foods being off are detectable by the following indicators:

  • Eggs - sulphurous smell means not edible

  • Juice - pungent, vinegary smell means juice has started to ferment and unpleasant to drink

  • Beer - skunk-like smell means very unpleasant to drink

  • Oats - rancid, oily smell means unpleasant to eat

You can find Dariush testing the labels here, and him in his natural habitat here. His work as Persolaise can be found here. He is available for interview on polite request. Scents development by perfumer and smell academic, Harry Sherwood

About Too Good To Go

Too Good To Go has a simple mission: to make sure all food gets eaten, not wasted.

In 2016, a group of entrepreneurs witnessed restaurant staff throwing away fresh food. The food’s only problem? It hadn’t sold in time, and no one was around to take it off the restaurant’s hands. The group pioneered a seamless solution: an app that lists businesses’ unsold food so local diners can find, buy and enjoy it.

Now, thousands of Magic Bags are rescued from businesses such as supermarkets, restaurants, and bakeries every day. The success of the app powers Too Good To Go’s wider efforts to drive a food waste movement, working with schools, industries and governments to build a planet-friendly food system.

Too Good To Go by numbers:

15 countries

50 million meals saved globally

25 million app installs globally

60,000 partner stores globally

2020 became a registered B-Corp

Find out more at, or visit us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter

Belinda Hallworth, PR Manager & Maddie Allan, PR Specialist

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 07519993364 / 07958126361

Too Good To Go

11 Curtain Road

EC2A 3LT London

United Kingdom