More supermarkets across UK scrap best before dates

2 August 2022, 18:52

Waitrose will be getting rid of best before labels over 500 of their products
Waitrose will be getting rid of best before labels over 500 of their products. Picture: Getty/Alamy
Alice Dear

By Alice Dear

Waitrose join Tesco, Co-op and Marks & Spencer in a bid to combat food waste.

Waitrose has become the latest UK supermarket to scrap best before dates on hundreds of their products.

The supermarket chain will be removing the information from labels of 500 products from September in a bid to reduce food waste.

Tesco, Co-op and Marks & Spencer have already made similar changes this year.

Director of Sustainability and Ethics at John Lewis Partnership, Marija Rompani, said that with 4.5 million tonnes of edible food being thrown away every year by households, the energy and resources of food production is being wasted.

Waitrose announced they will be making the changes from September 2022
Waitrose announced they will be making the changes from September 2022. Picture: Alamy

She explains: “By removing best before dates from our products, we want our customers to use their own judgement to decide whether a product is good to eat or not, which in turn will increase its chances of being eaten and not becoming waste.

“By using up existing fresh food in our homes, we can also save on our weekly household food shop, which is becoming an increasingly pressing concern for many.”

Tesco were one of the first supermarkets to start making these changes back in 2018 when they removed the best before labels from some of their own-brand fruit and vegetables.

Morrisons announced earlier this year that they would be removing the use by dates from their own-brand milk products and encouraging customers to use the 'sniff test' instead.

This came after Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) found that 85 million pints of milk were poured away due to customers following the 'use by' date on the cartons.

Waitrose is the latest supermarket chain to join the likes of Tesco, M&S and Morrisons
Waitrose is the latest supermarket chain to join the likes of Tesco, M&S and Morrisons. Picture: Alamy

Ian Goode, senior milk buyer at Morrisons, said on the store changes at the time: "Wasted milk means wasted effort by our farmers and unnecessary carbon being released into the atmosphere.

"Good quality well-kept milk has a good few days life after normal ‘use by’ dates – and we think it should be consumed, not tipped down the sink.

"So, we’re taking a bold step today and asking customers to decide whether their milk is still good to drink. Generations before us have always used the sniff test – and I believe we can too."

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