Milk has been named the item most likely to expire in the nation’s fridges, with almost half caught by a sour scent in their carton.
A survey of 2,000 Americans has revealed 46 percent think milk is the item in their home most often thrown away because the milk inside the bottle has gone bad.
Other dairy products such as yogurt and cheese were also highlighted as products likely to overstay their welcome in the fridge before going in the garbage.
The average American believes they spend $82 each week on food and drink, but nearly $16 of this will end up being thrown away after going out of date.
Divya Chopra, CEO, Noluma, which requested the study, said: “With each American throwing away an estimated $1,000 a year in out-of-date food as a result of inadequate packaging or storage, it is clear the issue has significant financial implications. This can be reduced through consumer education, protection from indoor light damage and better packaging.”
One in five Americans are happy consuming an item which has passed its use-by date, and over a quarter will risk a bite of a product past its best-before date.
More specifically, those surveyed believe cheese is safe to eat 10 days on from its use-by, and milk has a grace period of five days beyond the marked date.
A cup of yogurt is still deemed good to go eight days after its time has come, while Americans believe cookies, soda and condiments are all safe to consume for an additional two weeks.
One in six Americans will risk eating something past its use-by date so that it doesn’t go to waste.
When it comes to correct food storage, 85 percent think the rightful home of a carton of eggs is in the fridge.
A third of those surveyed prefer their chocolate treats refrigerated, compared to 49 per cent who demand their confectionery at room temperature.
Thirty-seven percent of Americans leave their loaf of bread in a cabinet, and one in six keep it on the countertop.
Storage in the wrong place was identified as the factor most likely to cause an item to expire before its time, followed by being stored in damaged or open packaging and exposure to heat.
Three quarters of respondents were unaware that exposure to a light source can cause certain foods and packaging to deteriorate at a faster rate.
And only one in 10 Americans who participated in the survey, conducted by OnePoll.com, identified light-protected packaging as an effective way to keep products fresh up to their use-by date.
Chopra added: “We think consumers should also be made aware of some of the other factors which can lead their favorite foods and beverages to sour before they can be used, such as the surprising impact of indoor light on certain products, including LED, fluorescent and refrigerator lights.
“Correct storage and light-protected packaging is important to prevent foods from expiring quicker than we expect.
“Certification of light-protection is the only way for consumers to be assured that the produce they are buying is being light-protected by the highest industry standards.”