Sainsbury’s becomes latest supermarket to bin best before dates to cut food waste

The move is expected to help UK households save 11,000 tonnes of food every year – equivalent to around 17m products

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Sainsbury’s has become the latest supermarket in the UK to remove best before dates from fresh produce to help reduce food waste.

It will remove the date labels on packaging from 276 own-brand produce, including pears, onions, tomatoes and citrus fruits, followed by products such as potatoes.

The move – also previously announced by supermarkets including Asda and M&S – is expected to help UK households save 11,000 tonnes of food every year – equivalent to around 17 million products.

The date labels will be replaced with an on-pack message, ‘no date helps reduce waste’, across the fresh produce.

A recent report by Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) found removing date labels from the most wasted fresh produce items such as broccoli, applies, potatoes and cucumber, has the potential to reduce annual household food waste by 50,000 tonnes.

In addition, Sainsbury’s will switch all ‘use by’ dates on own-brand yoghurts to ‘best before’ dates by the end of the year across 46 product lines.

It follows another WRAP research which revealed 54,000 tonnes of yoghurt is wasted every year, with the date label cited as the reasons for throwing it away for 70% of the waste.

Related to this, around half of all yoghurt thrown away in homes is in unopened packs, the research found.

These changes are part of the retailer’s ongoing commitment to halve its food waste by 2030.

Kate Stein, Director of Technical at Sainsbury’s said: “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 8-10% 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. With changes like these, together, we can all play our part in tackling the climate crisis and protecting the planet for generations to come.”