Grocery retailer Tesco is removing ‘best before’ labels from more fruit and vegetables five months after making its first move to remove expiration date labels on 70 products in May.
Tesco commissioned research to find out how customers feel about best-before dates and found that 69% of customers backed removing best-before dates from fresh produce, and more than half agreed that doing so would help them cut their own food waste.
As a result, Tesco will be removing expiration dates from 116 more fresh fruit and vegetables from 8 October.
Tesco’s head of food waste reduction Mark Little said: “Removing best before dates is our way of making it easier for customers to reduce food waste at home and save money in the process.
“It’s simply not right that food goes to waste and we’re going to do everything we can to help.”
According to research from an anti-waste campaign led by the National Federation of Women’s Institutes, less than half of consumers understand the meaning of best-before guidelines.
Best-before date labels, unlike use-by, are intended as a guide to the freshness and quality of food rather than a safety warning. Misunderstanding of the labels is thought to contribute to the 7.3 million tonnes of edible food discarded by UK shoppers every year.
Tesco’s move to remove best-before labels from fresh produce is a part of its commitment to reduce food waste and prevent edible food from being thrown away.
Last month, Tesco and other big supermarkets and manufacturers signed up to efforts to drive down UK’s annual £20bn food waste bill by committing to halving waste from ‘farm to work’ by 2030.
A roadmap published by circular economy and resource efficiency expert Wrap and the food and grocery charity IGD sets a series of milestones for the businesses to reduce waste at every stage of the supply chain.
Tesco CEO Dave Lewis last week called for global transparency on food waste as 27 of the retailer’s biggest suppliers published their food waste data for the first time.
Lewis said: “We hope every country, major city and company involved in the food supply chain publishes their own food waste data so that together we can take targeted action to reduce waste.
“We believe that what gets measured gets managed. Ultimately, the only way to tackle food waste is to understand the challenge – to know where in the supply chain food is wasted.”