Co-op scraps ‘use-by dates’ on own-brand yogurts in industry first

The Co-op has announced plans to scrap use-by dates on all its own-brand yogurts in a bid to reduce food waste.

The symbol group retailer claims, under the move which it said to be an industry first, on-pack “use by” dates will be replaced with “best before” dates on its entire range of own-brand yogurts.

“Yogurt can be safe to eat if stored unopened in a fridge after the date mark shown, so we have made the move to best-before dates to help reduce food waste,” Co-op head of food technical Nick Cornwell said.

“The acidity of yogurt acts as a natural defence and we’d encourage shoppers to use their judgment on the quality of their yogurt if it is past the best-before date.”

READ MORE: Ocado scraps ‘best before’ label on fruit and veg

The news comes as research by the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) revealed six million people in the UK eat a yogurt every day, but half are thrown away in unopened packs, mainly because of not being used in time.

Cornwell added: “Data from Wrap has suggested that 70% of food waste happens within the home setting. It’s our ambition to help our members and customers to make small changes that will collectively make a big impact and combat unnecessary food waste.

“Controlling food waste is not only beneficial for managing household budgets, it also has an environmental benefit and will ultimately help reduce carbon emissions.

“We encourage more retailers and brands to review their on-pack guidance and make the switch to best-before dates for yogurts.”

Wrap director of collaboration and change Catherine David concluded: “We’re delighted to see Co-op making this change to its entire yogurt range, as we know that the date label on yogurt is a fundamental reason that it is wasted at home.

“Wasting food feeds climate change and costs money. Applying a best-before date helps give people the confidence to use their judgment to eat beyond a best-before date and use more of the yogurt they buy – protecting the planet and their pockets.”

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