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UK Supermarkets Are Removing Best-before Dates from Packaging

Sainsbury’s confirmed earlier this year that it will be removing best-before dates from more than 100 of its pre-packed fresh produce lines.

More than 130 other, additional product lines will then have their packaging labels changed through to the end of the year. Among these additional changes will be own-brand yoghurts, which will have ‘use-by’ dates replaced with best-before dates.

The retailer had already removed or changed date packaging from more than 1,500 lines, including bananas, apples and plants.

It is hoped that the changes will help to reduce food waste in customers’ homes. Sainsbury’s has stated that the changes should “will give customers more autonomy to make their own decisions on whether their food is good to eat”. It bears noting that all products with labelling changes will have a note on them stating: “no date helps reduce waste”.

Then, on Friday (2 September), Aldi UK confirmed the removal of best-before dates from around 60 of its fresh fruit and vegetable lines. Items set to be affected include apples and pears, citrus fruits, potatoes, carrots and onions.

Research has repeatedly found that many customers mix the two terms up, throwing away food as soon as it reaches its best-before date, because they assume it is unsafe after this point.

Chief among the organisations researching this topic is WRAP. WRAP estimates that removing the best-before dates from the UK’s ten most commonly-wasted fresh fruit and vegetables would reduce the national food waste mountain generated by homes annually by more than 50,000 tonnes.