Waitrose joins growing list of UK supermarkets scrapping ‘best befores’
British supermarket Waitrose has announced its intention to remove best before dates on almost 500 products this September in a bid to tackle food waste in the home.
Waitrose is the latest UK supermarket to announce it’s dropping best before dates on certain commodities, as part of a wider commitment to reduce food waste by 2030.
The move will see the best-before removed from 500 fresh products, including citrus fruits, salad items, vegetables and indoor plants. With 70 percent of all food waste in the UK occurring in the home, the brand hopes this initiative will help Brits reduce this high statistic.
“Food waste continues to be a major issue,” said Marija Rompani, Director of Sustainability & Ethics, John Lewis Partnership “UK households throw away 4.5 million tonnes of edible food every year, meaning that all the energy and resources used in food production is wasted.
“By removing best before dates from our products, we want our customers to use their own judgement to decide whether a product is good to eat or not, which in turn, will increase its chances of being eaten and not becoming waste.
“By using up existing fresh food in our homes, we can also save on our weekly household food shop, which is becoming an increasingly pressing concern for many.”
In the UK, best before dates are designed to showcase food quality, rather than safety – in other words, food is at its best before this date, but should still be fine to eat after this date has passed. Use by dates will still be in place across products for safety – these dates should not be ignored, as they dictate the date after which food may be unsafe to consume.
“Wasting food feeds climate change and it costs people money,” commented Catherine David, Director of Collaboration and Change at WRAP. “Best Before dates on fruit and veg are unnecessary and create food waste because they get in the way of people using their judgement when food is still good to eat.
“We are absolutely delighted by this move from Waitrose which will help stop good food ending up in the bin. We estimate that removing dates on fresh fruit and veg could save the equivalent of seven million shopping baskets of food from the bin, which is huge!”
David also pointed to some helpful tips as to how to further limit our food waste, including storing fresh produce in the fridge at temperatures below 5°C. “WRAP found that apples last more than two months longer when refrigerated, and broccoli two weeks longer,” she noted.