Co-op to scrap ‘best before’ dates on fruit and vegetables
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Posted: 20 February 2023 | Ria Kakkad (New Food) | No comments yet
UK supermarket Co-op are removing ‘best-before’ dates on fresh fruit and vegetables to help customers cut food waste and save money.
Co-op Food have announced that it is abandoning ‘best before’ dates on more than 150 lines of fresh fruit and vegetables to help consumers cut food waste and save money. The changes will be implemented later this month of February, with ‘best before’ dates removed from all of Co-op’s fresh produce with expectation of a small number of more perishable products or where it can be harder to use visual cues to judge to suitability to consume.
A report by WRAP found around 50,000 tonnes of household waste could be prevented each year by removing ‘best before’ date labels for potatoes, apples, cucumber and broccoli. WRAP also suggests printing storage advice on packaging that does not have a ‘best before’ label. Co-op therefore are introducing on-pack guidance to highlight the best storage conditions to prolong product life.
The move follows a small-scale trial last year, in addition, last year Co-op introduced a ‘freeze me’ message to its own brand milk products in a bid to cut down on milk being wasted at home. Furthermore, in 2022 Co-op announced a move to scrap ‘use-by’ dates from all of its own-brand yoghurts, replacing them with best-before dates.
Product testing demonstrated that product quality continued beyond the best before date, especially when stored in optimal conditions, in the home. From product testing on the following 5 products (apples, bananas, broccoli, cucumber and potatoes), modelling showed the potential to cut annual UK household food waste of the five items tested by around 50,000 Tonnes. And, a potential saving of food worth around £50Million could be saved each year by UK households if ‘best before’ dates were removed from these five products alone. [Note/Source: WRAP]
Adele Balmforth, Propositions Director, Co-op, said: “As we face into a climate, environmental and cost-of-living crisis we are committed to helping our customers cut food waste in the home and save money. Date codes can drive decisions in the home, and result in good food being thrown away – which has a cost to both people and to our planet. In addition to axing best before dates on fresh fruit and vegetables, our inclusion of storage instructions can also help products last longer and, sits alongside our simple on-pack message for shoppers – ‘If it still looks good enough to eat, it is!”
Food Waste, Labelling, Packaging & Labelling, retail, Shelf life, Supermarket, Sustainability