What do you do when your fruit is past its “best before” date? Give it a try, or throw it straight in the bin? For many, it goes straight in the trash, which is a huge problem in the UK. Supermarket giant Tesco is doing something about it, by scrapping “best before” dates from some of its fresh fruit and vegetable ranges.
Confusion among shoppers
The UK’s largest supermarket has identified that many of its shoppers are confused by the conflicting “best before” and “use by” dates on food. This means that people are throwing out food unnecessarily. Now, shoppers will no longer find date labels on over 100 items of produce, including own-brand apples, oranges, cabbages and asparagus.
Best before dates on foods are usually an indication of their quality, rather than whether they are safe to eat. So food past its best before date might not be at its best, but it’s still safe to eat. Compulsory “use by” labels will still appear on foods such as meat, fish, eggs and dairy products that carry a safety risk if eaten after a specific date.
Too much food going to waste
Wrap data found that £13bn of edible food is thrown away by homes every single year in the UK. This is increasing the amount of rubbish we are sending to landfill. By eliminating the date labels on certain products, Tesco hopes to minimise the confusion for shoppers and reduce the amount of edible food that is thrown away. Research has found that people, particularly students and young families, are especially conscious of food dates, and will throw products away when they reach the best before date, even if the food is perfectly fine to eat.
For more details on what else Tesco is doing to help reduce food waste, head to their website.