Sainsbury’s has become the latest retailer to remove best before dates from 276 of its own-brand fresh produce as it looks to help customers reduce food waste.
The change which is rolling out this month will see best before dates replaced by on-pack messaging of ‘no date helps reduce waste’ on 100 product lines including pears, onions, tomatoes and citrus fruits and over 130 potato items.
This move follows the Big 4 grocer‘s removal of best before dates which has already taken place on over 1,500 lines such as pineapples, pumpkins, apples and indoor plants.
According to figures calculated by WRAP, the upcoming initiative could help UK households save 11,000 tonnes of food each year.
For 46 of its own brand yoghurts, Sainbury’s will also be making a change, swapping use by dates to best before dates by the end of 2022.
This comes as WRAP’s data also found that 54,000 tonnes of yogurt is wasted every year with 70% of cases down to the products date labelling. As a result, almost half of the yoghurt thrown away is unopened.
Sainsbury’s has confirmed that following testing, its yoghurt is safe to eat past its expiration date, the change now allowing customers to decide whether or not they want to consume a product past its best before date.
“We know that around a third of all food produced for human consumption is either lost or wasted and food waste is one of the leading contributors of carbon emissions, accounting for a staggering 8-10% of GHG emissions globally, which is why we’re committed to helping customers reduce waste at home,” Sainsbury’s director of technical, Kate Stein said.
“We also know that by avoiding unnecessary waste, we can help our customers save money by making their food shop last longer.”
WRAP director of collaboration and change, Catherine David added: “The right date label, or no date label, has a big influence on what we use and what we throw away. For fruit and veg, date labels are unnecessary and our research has shown that removing them can save the equivalent of seven million shopping baskets’ worth from our household bins a year.
“With yogurts, applying a ‘best before’ date rather than a ‘use by’ date means that people can use their judgement to eat beyond that date. Storing most fruit and veg and all yoghurt products in the fridge, below 5 degrees, will keep them fresher longer.”