Now Co-Op will remove best-before dates from hundreds of their products in fresh victory for our War on Food Waste campaign
- The Co-op is to take dates off more than 150 items starting from tomorrow
- Fruit and veg can be good to eat well beyond the best-before date
The Co-op is removing best-before dates from hundreds of fresh products in a bid to slash household food waste.
The move, which will be introduced tomorrow, is the latest victory for The Mail on Sunday’s War On Food Waste campaign, which aims to cut the amount of food being discarded in households by 30 per cent.
The Co-op is to take dates off more than 150 items, including apples, oranges, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, onions and broccoli. Encrypted codes will be used to ensure the produce sold is fresh.
Customers will be encouraged to use their common sense, with on-pack messaging telling households that if the fresh fruit and veg looks and feels good enough to eat, then it is.
An investigation by this newspaper covering Britain’s ten largest supermarket chains found that nearly every one was failing to follow labelling guidelines.
The Co-op is to take dates off more than 150 items, including apples, oranges, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, onions and broccoli
Since 2019, food retailers have been advised that milk, yogurt and other dairy products can now show a best-before label rather than a use-by date, unless there is a food safety risk.
But the labels, which refer only to a product’s quality, have been blamed for customers throwing away good food because they are mistaken for use-by dates, which indicate food safety.
Product-life testing by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) showed that fruit and veg can be good to eat well beyond the best-before date when stored in optimal conditions.
For broccoli, the difference between the best-before date and the first sign of deterioration was found to be 15 days. For potatoes it was 20 days, and with apples it was in excess of 70 days.
Last year, Co-op introduced a ‘freeze me’ message to its own-brand milk products, after it was revealed that more than £150 million worth of milk is wasted each year, with unused quantities at home contributing to 90 per cent of this.
The supermarket also announced it would replace use-by dates on all of its own-brand yogurts with best-before dates.
Co-op’s propositions director, Adele Balmforth, said: ‘As we face an environmental and cost-of-living crisis we are committed to helping our customers cut food waste 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 our planet.
Product-life testing by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) showed that fruit and veg can be good to eat well beyond the best-before date (stock image)
‘In addition to axeing best-before dates on fresh fruit and vegetables, our inclusion of storage instructions can also help products last longer.’
l Sainsbury’s is introducing reduced-price fruit and veg boxes to help limit food waste and save customers money.
The ‘Taste Me, Don’t Waste Me’ boxes, which will be available in more than 200 stores from today, will cost £2 and include produce that would otherwise have gone to waste but is safe to eat.
The move is part of the retailer’s commitment to halve its food waste by 2030.