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Fresh Produce

Tesco To Remove ‘Best Before’ Labels From Selected Products To Tackle Food Waste

Tesco has announced it will remove the ‘Best Before’ consumption guidance dates off up to 70 of its fruit and vegetable products in order to reduce food waste.

In a statement, the retailer said the move is being made to help prevent perfectly edible food from being thrown away after a recent campaign by the National Federation of Women’s Institutes (NFWI) into causes of food waste, which found that less than half of respondents understood the meaning of ‘Best Before’ dates.

Misinterpretation

Some 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.

Tesco explained that ‘Best Before’ labels are put on foods by retailers as a quality indication to show that while they are no longer at their best, they are still good to eat.

The selected fruit and vegetables include popular lines such as apples, potatoes, tomatoes, lemons and other citrus fruit and onions.

Tesco Head of Food Waste Mark Little explains, “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.

“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.”

Opportunity To Learn

David Moon, Head of Business Collaboration at WRAP added, “Through the Courtauld Commitment 2025, WRAP is working with the food & drink sector to review all the evidence on date labelling for fresh produce and agree best practice.

“This change by Tesco provides a good opportunity to learn about the customer response, and we anticipate Tesco will share their findings. With all fresh produce, appropriate storage including the use of the refrigerator is essential in giving the customer more time to use their food, so clarity of storage advice on pack and in-store will be vital.”

Tesco recently announced a campaign to turn 'wonky' fruit and vegetables into a new range of cold-pressed juice called 'Waste NOT' in order to save ugly fruit which would have otherwise gone to waste.

© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Aidan O'Sullivan. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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