Waitrose is removing best before dates from nearly 500 of its fresh fruit and veg instore as part of its ongoing efforts to reduce food waste.
From September, the dates on packaged fruit and vegetables will be scrapped by the grocery giant in a bid to encourage consumers to use their own judgment to if food is still fine to eat.
The move is expected to put an end to millions of baskets worth of food waste by preventing people throwing away products that are still edible, the retailer claimed.
“UK households throw away 4.5 million tonnes of edible food every year, meaning that all the energy and resources used in food production is wasted,” said John Lewis Partnership’s director of sustainability and ethics Marija Rompani.
“By removing best before dates from our products, we want our customers to use their own judgment to decide whether a product is good to eat or not, which in turn will increase its chances of being eaten and not becoming waste.”
Earlier this month, Marks & Spencer axed best before dates from more than 300 fruit and vegetable products following a successful trial, while Morrisons removed its use by dates on milk in January, encouraging consumers to use a “sniff test” instead.
“By using up existing fresh food in our homes, we can also save on our weekly household food shop, which is becoming an increasingly pressing concern for many,” added Rompani.
Food waste charity WRAP has said best before dates on fruit and vegetables contribute to climate change and that Waitrose’s decision could stop the equivalent of seven million shopping baskets of food from being thrown away.
WRAP’s director of collaboration and change Catherine David described best before dates on fruit and veg as “unnecessary”, adding that they “create food waste because they get in the way of people using their judgement when food is still good to eat”.
“We are absolutely delighted by this move from Waitrose which will help stop good food ending up in the bin.”