British retailer Waitrose, a portfolio company of John Lewis Partnership, has revealed plans to remove ‘best before’ dates from the packaging of fresh products to help reduce food waste.

From next month, the retailer will remove the dates from around 500 packaged fruits and vegetables, including root vegetables and fruits such as grapes, citrus and apples, as well as indoor plants.

The initiative aims to reduce the volume of food being wasted in the UK and encourage customers to use their own judgement.

It was launched in partnership with WRAP, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) focused on addressing the climate crisis.

The goal is also part of Waitrose’s wider efforts to help customers reduce food waste at home by 2030.

John Lewis Partnership sustainability and ethics director Marija Rompani said: “Food waste continues to be a major issue and, in the UK alone, 70% of all food wasted is by people in their own homes.

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“UK households throw away 4.5 million 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 judgement 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.”

WRAP Collaboration and Change director Catherine David said: “Best Before dates on fruit and veg are unnecessary and create food waste because they get in the way of people using their judgement when food is still good to eat.

“We are absolutely delighted by this move from Waitrose, which will help stop good food ending up in the bin.”

Last month, British multinational retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) announced it would also remove best before dates from fresh produce packaging labels in an effort to reduce food waste.