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M&S removes best before dates from fruit and vegetables

Posted: 18 July 2022 | | No comments yet

M&S says removing the best before dates on certain fruits and vegetables will help the retailer achieve its goal of cutting food waste.

UK supermarket M&S is removing best before dates from a range of fresh produce to help reduce in-store and household food waste.

Best before dates will be removed from the labelling of over 300 fruit and vegetable products – 85 percent of M&S’ produce offering – including commonly wasted items apples, potatoes and broccoli. Dates will be replaced with a new code which M&S store colleagues will use to ensure freshness and quality is maintained.

The change, which is being rolled out across all M&S UK stores from this week, is designed to encourage customers to throw away less edible food at home by using their judgement.

“We’re determined to tackle food waste – our teams and suppliers work hard to deliver fresh, delicious, responsibly sourced produce at great value and we need to do all we can to make sure none of it gets thrown away. To do that, we need to be innovative and ambitious – removing best before dates where safe to do so, trialling new ways to sell our products and galvanising our customers to get creative with leftovers and embrace change,” said Andrew Clappen, Director of Food Technology.

Catherine David, Director of Collaboration and Change at WRAP added: “We’re thrilled to see this move from M&S, which will reduce food waste and help tackle the climate crisis. Removing dates on fresh fruit and veg can save the equivalent of seven million shopping baskets of food being binned in our homes.

“We urge more supermarkets to get ahead on food waste by axing date labels from fresh produce, allowing people to use their own judgement.”

M&S joins other major retailers including Morrisons in ditching best before dates from some products, such as vegetables and even milk. Though there is little doubt that schemes such as this will reduce food waste, there will be some concerns that food safety might be compromised if consumers are left to make individual decisions on when to eat food.

We’ll be discussing this interesting topic in one of our live debates at the Food Safety Conference in October 2022, sign up here.

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