British co-operative group Co-op has revealed plans to remove ‘best before’ dates from its fresh produce lines.
From later this month, more than 150 Co-op products such as apples, oranges, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, onions and broccoli will no longer display the dates on their packaging.
Co-op will continue to add best before dates to some easily perishable products and others for which product quality cannot be detected with visual cues and judgement.
The company said the initiative will help customers reduce food waste at home while saving money.
Co-op plans to make the changes after successfully testing them in a small-scale trial last year.
The retailer has also introduced a ‘freeze me’ message for its own-brand milk products in an effort to reduce milk wastage.
Co-op propositions director Adele Balmforth said: “Date codes can drive decisions in the home, and result in good food being thrown away – which has a cost to both people and to our planet.
“In addition to axing best before dates on fresh fruit and vegetables, our inclusion of storage instructions can also help products last longer and, sits alongside our simple on-pack message for shoppers – ‘If it still looks good enough to eat, it is!”
The move has been welcomed by the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP), a UK-based charity that aims to reduce waste and promote sustainability.
WRAP collaboration and change director Catherine David said: “We’re delighted to see the Co-op continue to take action to reduce household food waste, saving customers money and conserving the planet’s precious resources.
“The average family spends £700 ($845.5) a year on good food that ends up in the bin – moves like this from the Co-op help to change that.”
In November last year, Co-op pledged to remove all coloured milk bottle caps from its shelves to increase their recyclability.