British supermarket chain Co-op is to remove the ‘best before’ date from 150 fruit and veg products in a bid to reduce food waste. The company said that removing a best before date would lead to shoppers saving money and help the environment.
Starting from next week (w/c February 27) the Co-op will remove best before dates from more than 150 fresh products, including apples, broccoli, carrots, onions, oranges, potatoes and tomatoes.
The Co-op also said that food that is stored in fridges also extends its life past when the best before date suggests. The move comes after a trial was held last year involving 20 products, with a small number of items still displaying best before dates.
This comes after bigger chains, such as Sainsbury’s and Asda removed best before dates last year. Sainsbury’s removed best before dates on almost 300 lines saying its yoghurt is safe to consume past its expiration date.
Co-op Food has around 2,500 stores across the UK and will now use encrypted codes including a series of letters and numbers to allow workers to know how long an item has been on a shelf.
They said that products having a best before date led to people throwing fruit and veg away when it was still perfectly fine to eat, stating the customers should just use their own judgement to determine if fresh fruit and vegetables at home had gone off.
The Food Standard Agency (FSA) has stressed the importance of knowing the difference between best before and use by dates. Best before is about quality, meaning a product will be safe to it past the date, but the quality will not be as good.