Co-op ditches best before dates on 150 fresh produce to fight household food waste
Best before dates on fresh fruit and veg are set to ‘expire’ as Co-op axes the dates from more than 150 lines of fresh produce in a move designed to help customers cut food waste in the home.
Shoppers will see changes in store later this month with best before dates removed from all of Co-op’s fresh produce – including: apples; oranges; tomatoes, carrots; potatoes; onions and broccoli – with the exception of a small number of the more perishable products.
Product life testing by WRAP shows that fruit and veg can be good to eat well beyond the best before date when stored in optimal conditions, including: broccoli – where the difference between the best before date and the first sign of deterioration was found to be 15 days; potatoes – where the difference was 20 days and, apples – which was in excess of 70 days.
With households accounting for around 70% of UK food waste, data also shows that date codes can drive consumer behaviour on deciding when to dispose of fresh produce.
To help customers make more informed decisions about fresh produce storage, Co-op will introduce on-pack guidance to highlight the best storage conditions to prolong product life.
The retailer aims to tackle the environmental and cost-of-living crises while also reducing food waste.
In a statement, Adele Balmforth, Propositions Director at Co-op, said, “Date codes can drive decisions in the home and result in good food being thrown away – which has a cost to both people and our planet.” She added that the inclusion of storage instructions could also help products last longer.
The move follows a small-scale trial by the company in the past year, which was successful. Additionally, Co-op had earlier removed “use-by” dates from its own-brand yoghurts and replaced them with best-before dates. The change aimed to encourage shoppers to check the quality of the product and use visual cues to establish its suitability to consume.
This latest initiative by Co-op shows its commitment to reducing food waste and creating a more sustainable future.
By removing best before dates from fresh produce, Co-op is encouraging consumers to rely on their judgment when it comes to consuming food, potentially leading to less food waste and savings for customers.
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