Tesco to remove “best before” labels to reduce food waste

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Tesco is set to stop labelling over 70 fresh fruit and vegetable products with “best before” dates in a bid to reduce food waste.

Though “use by” dates are compulsory for items that could pose a health risk if they are not consumed by a specific date, “best before” dates on fruit and vegetables are simply guidelines for when the items will be of best quality, but do not refer to safety.

A recent study by National Federation of Women’s Institutes (NFWI) found that less than half of the respondents knew the difference between these labels.

“We know some customers may be confused by the difference between best before and use by dates on food and this can lead to perfectly edible items being thrown away before they need to be discarded,” Tesco’s head of food waste Mark Little said.

“We have made this change to fruit and vegetable packaging as they are among the most wasted foods.”

This is part of Tesco’s drive to reduce food waste, having signed up to the Courtauld Commitment 2025, an initiative that aims to half food waste by 2030.

It is thought that £13 billion worth of edible food is discarded in UK homes every year, with a further £3 billion wasted in the hospitality sector.

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