High-end high street supermarket Waitrose is to remove best before dates on nearly 500 fresh products including root vegetables, lettuce and fruit and an attempt to cut food waste.
Some of the fruits include shopping basket staples such as oranges, apples, pears and grapes and vegetables will include mushrooms, peppers and leeks along with other products ranges.
The retailer will also remove best before dates on indoor plants to give them more longevity on its shelves to encourage customers to use their own judgement.
Marija Rompani, director of sustainability and ethics at Waitrose parent company the John Lewis Partnership said: “Food waste continues to be a major issue and in the UK alone 70% of all food wasted is by people in their own homes. UK households throw away 4.5 millions tonnes of edible food every year, meaning that all the energy and resources used in food production is wasted.
“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.”
Waitrose said that in the UK, best before dates are designed to showcase food quality for customers, rather than safety with ‘best before’ very different to ‘use by’ on packaging.
Use by dates will still be in place across the supermarket’s products for safety.
Catherine David, director of collaboration and change at wate reductio charity WRAP said: “Best Before dates on fruit and veg are unnecessary and create food waste because they get in the way of people using their judgement when food is still good to eat.”