Co-op launches new ‘freeze me’ milk range to tackle food waste

Co-op is introducing a new “freeze me” label to its own-brand milk products in an effort to cut down on 70,000 tonnes of waste a year.

Shoppers are being urged to change where they store their milk at home to help reduce waste amid the cost of living crisis.

The new label will read: “Don’t waste me, freeze me, in a suitable, clean container, then defrost in the fridge, use within 24 hours.”

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    It comes after waste reduction organisation, Wrap, found that more than £150 million worth of milk is wasted each year - with milk unused by households making up 90% of this figure.

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    Catherine Dishington, environment and sustainability manager at Co-op, hopes the new messaing “will not only save customers some money”, but “also help them to throw away less.”

    When will the new label appear?

    The new messaging will appear across all Co-op own brand milk products from September 2022.

    Estelle Herszenhorn, strategic technical manager at Wrap, said: “Milk is one of the most wasted food products in the UK so this is a welcome move from the Co-op, demonstrating their commitment to helping people waste less.

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    “We encourage people to check out the Love Food Hate Waste website for more ways to make the most of the food you buy, save money and fight climate change.”

    The move comes after the Big Plastic Count, which saw nearly 100,000 households across the country count every piece of disposable packaging they used over the course of a week in May.

    Participating homes threw away an average of 66 pieces of packaging every week – 83% of which was food and drinks packaging.

    Can milk be put in the freezer?

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    A recent survey for Co-op found that 66% of UK adults do not freeze milk at home, 31% did not know you could freeze it and, of these, 34% say that they will start to freeze it.

    Milk is best used within one month of freezing and should be defrosted in the fridge. Once fully thawed, it should be used within 24 hours.

    Catherine Dishington said: “Freezing food is one of the easiest ways to make the most out of your weekly shop and prevent food wastage but not everyone knows that it’s perfectly safe to freeze milk.”

    Freezing food is one of the best ways to reduce waste, experts say, and is being suggested to shoppers as one of the best ways to make the most of their weekly shop.