UKTo combat waste, complete “consume before prioritizing”.
British supermarket Waitrose decided on Monday to remove the “best before” mark on more than 500 fresh produce to prevent them from being thrown away while they are still good.
British supermarket Waitrose announced on Monday that it was recalling almost 500 products with expiry dates. Objective: Avoid discouraging its customers from consuming more good food, thus combating food waste. “We estimate that removing dates from fresh fruits and vegetables could save the equivalent of 7 million baskets of food from the landfill,” the chain estimates.
From September, Waitrose will remove ‘best before’ labels from nearly 500 new products, particularly fruit and vegetables under packaging, the company said in a statement. The upmarket chain says the move “aims to reduce the amount of food waste in British households. It urges customers to use common sense”. “Food waste is still a huge problem” and British households “throw away 4.5 million tonnes of edible food every year”, said Marija Rompani, director of sustainability at Waitrose’s parent company John Lewis Department Store Group.
Following in the footsteps of Tesco and Marks and Spencer
The “best before” indicator is linked to the taste or nutritional quality of a product, and corresponds to the “minimum shelf life date” in France. On the other hand, the “use by” (before consumption) appearing on perishable goods is a mandatory indication and its non-compliance presents health risks similar to the expiry date across the channel.
The company is following in the footsteps of other British brands, such as department store Tesco, which removed recommended consumption dates on 100 products from 2018, or Marks & Spencer, which recently did the same on 300 notes. Another supermarket chain, Morrisons, did not remove the best before date on 90% of its private label milk in January, but announced a best before date, encouraging its customers to smell the bottle’s contents.
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