UK Supermarkets To Scrap ‘Best Before’ Dates And Let People ‘Use Their Own Judgement’

Jesse Williams

By Jesse Williams

Jesse Williams

3 Aug 2022

Waitrose has announced it will be removing “best before” dates from almost 500 fresh products in its stores, in an effort to curb food waste.

From September the British retailer will remove the label from a range of packaged fresh fruit, herbs and vegetables.

Used to tell customers food is at its optimal before this date, the “best before date” has been scrapped by other retailers, including top-end UK group Marks and Spencer and Tesco.

“Best before” is often confused with “Use by” labels which are the dates until which perishable food can be cooked and consumed safely. 

“UK households throw away 4.5 millions tonnes of edible food every year, meaning that all the energy and resources used in food production is wasted,” said Marija Rompani, director of sustainability and ethics at the John Lewis Partnership, which owns Waitrose.

Waste Resources Action Programme (Wrap) estimates that removing dates on fresh fruit and veg could save the equivalent of 7m shopping baskets of food from the bin in the UK.

Catherine David, director of collaboration and change at the charity, said: “Wasting food feeds climate change and it costs people money. 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.”