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Waitrose to follow Tesco, M&S and Morrisons in scrapping best before dates on hundreds of products in September



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Waitrose is to scrap using best before dates on hundreds of its products.

The supermarket says from September it will abandon using the dates on packaged fruit and vegetables and instead let its customers use their own judgement.

Unlike a 'use by' date, the best before date relates to quality and not safety, and so while the food is safe to eat after this date it may not be at its very best flavour.

Waitrose is to stop using best before dates on 500 products from September. Picture: Waitrose.
Waitrose is to stop using best before dates on 500 products from September. Picture: Waitrose.

The supermarket, owned by the John Lewis Partnership is following in the footsteps of other retailers including Tesco, the Co-op, M&S, and Morrisons in making changes to the way that it uses dates on some food items.

It was Tesco back in 2018 that first altered the way it dated some products while in January Morrisons announced plans to remove the use-by dates on milk - with customers encouraged to use an old fashioned 'sniff test' to determine if it was ok to use.

And earlier this month M&S began getting rid of best before dates on around 300 fruit and vegetable products after a trial.

Growing numbers of supermarkets are removing best before dates from many fresh items
Growing numbers of supermarkets are removing best before dates from many fresh items

Marija Rompani, director of sustainability and ethics at the John Lewis Partnership, said: “UK households throw away 4.5m 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 judgment 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."

Organisation WRAP - the government-backed Waste Resources Action Programme - estimates that removing the dates on fresh fruit and veg could save millions of shopping baskets of food from waste bins in the UK.

The price of food is continuing to rise. Image: iStock.
The price of food is continuing to rise. Image: iStock.

And with the cost of food rising and increasing amounts of pressure being placed on household bills, the move by supermarkets, say experts, should help people save people and therefore money.

Editor-in-Chief of money website Finance.co.uk, Laura Rettie said: "Waitrose removing best before dates is ultimately a positive move by the grocer for shoppers. The difference between a best before and use by date can easily be mistaken, and good food often goes to waste, costing consumers money to replace perfectly good food."



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