Tesco to remove 'best before' dates in fruit and veg aisle

Some fruits and vegetables in Tesco will be sold without a 'best before' date in a bid to reduce food waste.

Nearly 70 fruit and veg lines – including apples, onions, potatoes, tomatoes and citrus fruits – will lose the guidance dates as it's become clear that people don't understand what they mean. In fact, fewer than half of shoppers are savvy to it, according to a survey by the National Federation of Women's Institutes cited by Tesco.

'Best before' means just that: the quality is at its best before the date on the label, not that it will go off after it. Unfortunately confusion means people often throw away perfectly edible food after that date.

The poll found that over 70 per cent of did understand 'use by' labels, however, which are a health and safety requirement. Some retailers are focusing on this label now to make things clearer for customers.

"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," says Mark Little, Tesco's Head of Food Waste.

"We have made this change to fruit and vegetable packaging as they are among the most wasted foods.

"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."

WRAP, an organisation working to rid the UK of food waste, says it '[anticipates] Tesco will share their findings' with the rest of the industry.

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