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Tesco UK Removes Confusing ‘Best Before’ Labels To Help Combat Food Waste

Published on May 22 2018 11:25 AM

Tesco UK Removes Confusing ‘Best Before’ Labels To Help Combat Food Waste

Tesco UK revealed that it is removing ‘Best Before’ labels from up to 70 of its fruit and vegetable products in order to remove waste.

The retailer said that consumers are confusing the labels for the 'use-by' label which is resulting in perfectly adequate food being thrown out.

A report from the National Federation of Women’s Institutes (NFWI) into causes of food waste, which found that less than half of respondents understood the meaning of ‘Best Before’ dates.

70% of people polled by NFWI knew that ‘Use By’ labels indicated a safety risk if they are eaten after that date.

Misinterpretation

Tesco explained that ‘Best Before’ labels indicate that food products will no longer be at their best, but are still good to eat.

Tesco Head of Food Waste, Mark Little, said, “We know some 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.

“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.”

The selected fruit and vegetables include popular own-brand lines such as apples, potatoes, tomatoes, lemons and other citrus fruit and onions.

Learn From Consumers

David Moon, Head of Business Collaboration at WRAP added, “Through the Courtauld Commitment 2025, WRAP is working with the food & drink sector to review all the evidence on date labelling for fresh produce and agree best practice.

“This change by Tesco provides a good opportunity to learn about the customer response, and we anticipate Tesco will share their findings. With all fresh produce, appropriate storage including the use of the refrigerator is essential in giving the customer more time to use their food, so clarity of storage advice on pack and in-store will be vital.”

Ireland's 2020 Goal

There are no immediate plans to implement this strategy in Ireland, however, Tesco Ireland said that it has made a commitment that no food safe for human consumption will go to waste in its stores by 2020.

In a statement, the Tesco Ireland said, “At Tesco Ireland, we are committed to tackling the issue of food waste.

“As the first retailer to launch a nationwide food surplus programme, our innovative partnership with FoodCloud has led the way in tackling food waste in Ireland, flourishing from a one store trial in 2013 to working together to donate over 5 million meals of surplus food to more than 300 community groups across Ireland.”

© 2018 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Aidan O’Sullivan. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition. 

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