UK retailer Asda plans to remove best ‘before dates’ from around 250 of fresh fruit and vegetable SKUs as it seeks to prevent food waste.
The initiative, to be rolled out on 1 September, will see the retailer remove the dates on packaged fruit and vegetable products, including citrus fruits, potatoes, cauliflowers, and carrots, across all of its UK stores.
An average family throws away £60 worth of food and drink each month, research from climate action group WRAP has unveiled.
The removal of 'best before' dates will encourage customers to decide themselves if the food is edible, thereby preventing food waste, Asda noted.
Quality And Freshness
The retailer will replace the date with a code, which will help store employees ensure the quality and freshness of products.
Asda’s green grocers, trained in all aspects of the company’s fresh produce operation, will provide support to ensure that the products remain fresh.
It is also providing online guidance to help customers understand how to store and prepare fresh food as well as hints and tips on how to reduce food waste.
Andy Cockshaw, head of technical at Asda IPL said, “Reducing food waste in our business and in customers’ homes is a priority and we are always looking at different ways to achieve this.
“We know for customers this has become more important than ever in the current climate as many families are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis and are looking to make savings wherever they can.”
Globally, food waste accounts for 8% of total greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), contributing to climate change.
In the UK alone, food waste is responsible for an estimated 36 million tonnes of GHG emissions every year, according to WRAP.
Catherine David, director of collaboration and change at WRAP, said, “Our research has shown that date labels on fruit and veg are unnecessary – getting rid of them can prevent the equivalent of 7 million shopping baskets’ worth from our household bins.
“Storing most fruit and vegetable products in the fridge, below five degrees, will keep them fresher longer. We know that wasting food feeds climate change and costs us money. The influence of no date label or the right date label on what we use and what we throw away is huge.
David added, “More supermarkets need to get ahead on food waste by axing date labels from fresh produce, allowing people to use their own judgement.”
The removal of ‘best before’ labels is one of the measures for the retailer to achieve 20% reduction in waste by 2025.
The supermarket also has a comprehensive ‘back of store’ donation scheme, and since 2018 has donated the equivalent of 8.2 million meals from this process to local communities through food redistribution charity FareShare.