Tesco ditches 'Use By' dates on yogurt packaging to cut food waste

Tesco ditches 'Use By' dates on yogurt packaging to cut food waste

Sustainability

Tesco has decided to change the labelling of over 30 yogurt products from 'Use By' to 'Best Before' dates as part of its efforts to reduce food waste.

The aim of this move is to prevent perfectly good food from being thrown away, giving customers the freedom to make their own judgement on whether a product is still suitable for consumption.

Recent findings from a survey conducted by food waste prevention group WRAP highlighted the extent of yogurt waste in the UK. The survey found that UK consumers discard 54,000 tonnes of yogurt annually, which represents nine percent of all purchases. Of this waste, half comes from unopened yogurt containers, a figure that is significantly higher than other types of food. Additionally, 70 percent of discarded yogurt is thrown away because it has passed its date.

Tesco has opted to use two date descriptions on its products to keep things simple. 'Best Before' dates are used to indicate the quality of the product, demonstrating that it may no longer be at its best, but is still edible. 'Use By' dates, on the other hand, are used for safety reasons, indicating that a product must be consumed or frozen before midnight on its 'Use By' date.

Tesco changes yogurt labelling to cut down on food waste
Tesco changes yogurt labelling to cut down on food waste © Tesco PLC

This new move is part of Tesco's ongoing efforts to reduce waste.

Tesco Lead Technical Manager for Dairy Amy Walker said: We know some shoppers may be unclear about the difference between 'Use By' and 'Best Before' dates on food and this can lead to perfectly edible items being thrown away unnecessarily.

We have made the decision to remove 'Use By' dates on yogurts where it is safe to do so, after extensive testing which reveals that the acidity of the product acts as a natural preservative. However consumers should always use their judgement to determine if the quality is acceptable.

These lines represent a significant proportion of our own brand yogurts and we hope to phase the change in between now and the end of June.

The supermarket previously launched a waste initiative in 2018, which involved the removal of 'Best Before' dates from over 170 fruit and vegetable products, including potatoes, apples, tomatoes, onions, and citrus fruits, to help customers reduce their food waste at home.

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