Food waste: John Allan discusses sell-by-dates
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Major supermarket Sainsbury’s has just announced it will be making a big change to stores.
This move will help customers save money in the long run and also work towards combatting food waste.
Sainsbury’s has already removed the best before dates from over 1,500 lines including bananas, apples, pineapples, pumpkins and indoor plants.
However, the retailer is currently expanding this initiative to 276 additional own brand products.
These include some fresh fruit, vegetables and also dairy products.
From the end of August, produce including but not limited to onions, tomatoes and citrus fruits will not include best before dates.
Potatoes will also follow suit and no longer boast best before dates.
Sainsbury’s claimed that removing this label will encourage people to not waste perfectly edible foods.
According to WRAP, which works to tackle the climate crisis and promote sustainability, reported that removing date labels from the most wasted fresh produce has the potential to cut annual household food waste by 50,000 tonnes.
These commonly discarded foods include produce such as broccoli, apples, potatoes and cucumber.
The supermarket suggested that its upcoming changes could help UK households to save 11,000 tonnes of food each year, which is the equivalent of 17 million products.
Rather than a “before before” label, products that are part of the initiative will boast labels that read “no date helps reduce waste”.
Sainsbury’s has also revealed that it will be making changes to how its yoghurt products are sold in store.
Following rigorous testing, the supermarket has found that yoghurts can be eaten past their expiration dates.
Therefore, the supermarket plans to switch all use by dates on own-brand yoghurts to best before dates by the end of this year.
This will give customers more autonomy regarding their own food consumption, and save them plenty of money not having to replace foods needlessly.
It will also combat the alarming stat that 54,000 tonnes of yoghurt is wasted per year.
What’s more, for 70 percent of this yoghurt waste, the date label was cited as the reasons for throwing it away.
It is important to remember when shopping that best before dates relate to food quality and you can eat a food past its best before date.
The use by date, on the other hand, relates to food safety and must be adhered to; never eat a food past its use by date unless it has been frozen.
These changes are part of Sainsbury’s aim to halve its food waste by 2030.
Kate Stein, Director of Technical at Sainsbury’s stated: “We know that around a third of all food produced for human consumption is either lost or wasted and food waste is one of the leading contributors of carbon emissions, accounting for a staggering eight to 10 percent of GHG emissions globally, which is why we’re committed to helping customers reduce waste at home.
“We also know that by avoiding unnecessary waste, we can help our customers save money by making their food shop last longer.
“The changes that we’re announcing today will do just that, giving customers more autonomy to make their own decisions on whether their food is good to eat, and preventing them from disposing of food too early.”
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