UK – Leading UK supermarket, Sainsbury’s has become the latest supermarket to ditch “best before” dates as part of plans to reduce food waste.

The grocer has confirmed it will scrap dates labels from over 100 fresh produce lines, including pears, onions, tomatoes, and citrus fruits. A further 130 products, including potatoes, will follow.

Instead, the new fresh fruit & veg packaging will feature the message ‘no date helps reduce waste’ to raise awareness among shoppers.

In addition, it is also switching all ‘use by’ dates on own-brand yoghurts to ‘best before’ dates by the end of the year, which will affect 46 product lines.

Sainsbury’s has said that, after “stringent testing”, it has found that its yoghurt is safe to consume past its expiration date.

Research from the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) revealed that 54,000 tonnes of yoghurt is wasted a year. For 70% of this waste, the date label was cited as the reason for throwing it away.

In total, changes will be made to date labels on packaging for 276 own-label products in an effort to encourage customers to use their own judgement when deciding if a product is still good to eat.

Sainsbury’s has already removed dates from over 1,500 lines of food including pineapples, pumpkins, apples and indoor plants.

Kate Stein, Director of Technical at Sainsbury’s said: “We know that around a third of all food produced for human consumption is either lost or wasted and food waste is one of the leading contributors of carbon emissions, accounting for a staggering 8%-10% of GHG emissions globally, which is why we’re committed to helping customers reduce waste at home.

“We also know that by avoiding unnecessary waste, we can help our customers save money by making their food shop last longer.”

Stein further added: “The changes that we’re announcing today will do just that, giving customers more autonomy to make their own decisions on whether their food is good to eat, and preventing them from disposing of food too early.”

The move comes as other major retailers are also ditching ‘best before’ dates to help reduce wastage, including Waitrose, Asda, Marks & Spencer and Lidl.

Sainsbury’s said the upcoming changes, which are part of its pledge to halve food waste in its own operations by 2030, could help UK households to save 11,000 tonnes of food a year.

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