Tesco to remove “Best Before” dates from fruit and veg label to cut on food waste

UK – The British grocery store Tesco has announced plans to ditch ‘Best Before’ dates from its own label fruit and vegetables as part of the supermarket’s move to reduce the amount of edible food going into waste and eventually landfill.

These include almost 70 fruit and vegetable lines for apples, potatoes, tomatoes, lemons and other citrus fruit and onions.

In a survey carried out by National Federation of Women’s Institutes (NFWI) on causes of food waste, it was found that less than half of respondents understood the meaning of “Best Before” dates.

According to the survey, more than 70% of people polled by NFWI correctly identified the meaning of “Use By” labels which have to be put on all foods where there is a safety risk if they are eaten after that date.

On the other hand, “Best Before” labels are put on foods by retailers as a quality indication to show that although they are no longer at their best they are still good to eat.

“We know some customers may be confused by the difference between ‘Best Before’ and ‘Use By’ dates on food and this can lead to perfectly edible items being thrown away before they need to be discarded,” said Mark Little, Head of Food Waste at Tesco.

“We have made this change to fruit and vegetable packaging as they are among the most wasted foods.”

“Many customers have told us that they assess their fruit and vegetables by the look of the product rather than the ‘Best Before’ date code on the packaging.”

Best before date is considered as a quality but not safety factor as it indicates that although the food will be safe, it may not be at its best quality.

Food waste is a global concern that has attracted interventions from global players especially in fruit and vegetables, a category whose items are regarded to be common in wastage.

The European Union is on the verge of enacting stringent laws and regulations concerning food waste, stepping up changes on how suppliers are working towards a circular economy.

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