Tesco is scrapping best before dates on fruit & vegetables to cut waste

bag of potatoes

Tesco has announced it is scrapping best before guidance dates from nearly 70 fruit and vegetable lines as part of efforts to help slash food waste.

The supermarket giant said it was targeting fruit and vegetables, with apples, potatoes and tomatoes among those chosen for the switch, as they were among the most wasted, and those thrown away are often “perfectly edible”.

Tesco’s head of food waste, Mark Little, said: “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.

Little added: 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.

The Food Standards Agency states that “the best before date, sometimes shown as BBE, is about quality and not safety. The food will be safe to eat after this date but may not be at its best.

The move follows a recent campaign by the National Federation of Women’s Institutes into causes of food waste, which found that under half of respondents understood the meaning of best before dates.

More than 70 per cent of people polled by NFWI identified the meaning of use by labels which need to be put on all foods where there is a safety risk if they are eaten after that date.

Best before labels are put on food as a quality measure to show that although food may be past its best it is still good to eat.