Supermarket is scrapping best before dates on hundreds of products

UK supermarket Waitrose will remove best-before dates from nearly 500 fresh foods in a bid to reduce food waste.

From September, the food giant will eliminate dates on packaged fruit and vegetables to encourage consumers to make their own judgment about when food has gone bad.

The move aims to eliminate millions of baskets worth of food waste by preventing produce that is still edible from being thrown away, the retailer claimed.

Earlier this month, Marks & Spencer removed the sell-by date of more than 300 fruit and vegetable products after a successful attempt.

Tesco led the way for big supermarkets when it eliminated dates on more than 100 fresh groceries in 2018.

Marija Rompani, Director of Sustainability and Ethics at John Lewis Partnership, owner of Waitrose, said: “British households throw away 4.5 million tonnes of edible food every year, meaning that all the energy and resources used in food production become, be wasted.

“By removing best-before dates from our products, we want our customers to have the discretion to decide whether a product is edible or not, which in turn increases the likelihood that it will be eaten and not become waste.

“By using up existing fresh groceries in our households, we can also save on our weekly household grocery shopping, which is becoming an increasingly pressing concern for many.”

“Best before dates” are meant to show food quality rather than how safe it is, Waitrose said.

For safety reasons, best-before dates are given which, if ignored, can lead to food poisoning.

Experts from the Waste & Resources Action Program (Wrap) said sell-by dates on fruit and vegetables are unnecessary and contributing to climate change.

Catherine David, Director of Collaboration and Change at Wrap, said: “Best before dates for fruit and vegetables are unnecessary and create food waste because they prevent people from using their judgment when food is still edible.

“We are delighted with this step by Waitrose, which will help ensure that good food no longer ends up in the bin.

“We estimate that removing dates from fresh fruit and veg could save the equivalent of seven million grocery baskets from the bin, which is huge.”

Other supermarkets have taken steps to reduce food waste as they face growing pressure from sustainability groups.

In January, Morrisons announced plans to remove the use-by date from milk and encourage consumers to instead use a “sniff test” to see if it’s okay to consume. Supermarket is scrapping best before dates on hundreds of products

Fry Electronics Team

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