Tesco have removed the best before dates on 70 per cent of their fresh produce to cut down on food waste. The motivation behind this move is to prevent completely edible food from being thrown away and the new rule applies to apples, potatoes, tomatoes, onions and citrus fruit.
Many fruits and vegetables have a longer shelf life than predicted, and many people simply go by eye in regard to whether it is suitable to eat. However, a recent campaign by the National Federation of Women’s Institutes (NFWI) that looked into food waste found that less than half of the respondents understood the meaning of best before dates.
Despite this, 70 per cent of people who participated in a poll by the NFWI correctly identified the meaning of use by labels, which indicate when there is a safety risk if the item is eaten after that date.
Mark Little, Head of Food Waste at Tesco, said: “We know 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.
“We have made this change to fruit and vegetable packaging as they are among the most wasted foods. Many customers have told us that they assess their fruit and vegetables by the look of the product rather than the best before date code on the packaging.”