Tesco to remove ‘best before’ labels from packaged fruit and veg

Move to discourage consumers from binning perfectly edible food

Last May Tesco in the UK removed the “best before” labels from 70 pre-packed fruit and vegetables.

Last May Tesco in the UK removed the “best before” labels from 70 pre-packed fruit and vegetables.

 

Tesco in the UK is to remove “best before” labels off more than 100 additional pre-packaged fruits and vegetables in an effort to discourage consumers from binning perfectly edible food but the move is unlikely to be replicated by its Irish arm in the short term.

In May, Tesco in the UK removed the “best before” labels from 70 pre-packed fruit and vegetables as concerns mounted that its shoppers were confused by the difference between “best before” and “use by” dates on food and throwing away perfectly edible items as a result.

“Best before” labels tell consumers that although a product can be used after a certain date it may it suffer in quality terms. “Use by” labels mean products should not be used after a particular date because of food-poisoning fears.

The company’s UK division said taking best before information off labels was encouraging customers to make their own decisions about the freshness of produce based on what it looks, smells and tastes like.

An independent survey more than 2,000 Tesco customers found that 53 per cent felt scrapping best before dates made a difference and helped them to keep fresh food for longer.

Following the success of its summer trial it is to take best before dates off a further 116 fruit and vegetable products.

While the move has been welcomed by food waste campaigners in the UK there are no indications it will replicated in the Republic in the short term.

Irish households bin an average of €700 worth of edible food each year and one million tons of food, worth more than €700 million, is thrown out each year across the State.