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Tesco is removing ‘best before’ guidance dates off fruit and vegetable packaging in a bid to help reduce food waste, as such labels often result in edible food being thrown away.

Re-educating consumers
The removal of its ‘best before’ labels is the latest step from Tesco in addressing the mounting problem of food waste, with the retailer previously selling blemished fruit and miniature produce that would otherwise have been thrown away.

The move echoes a similar approach from Norwegian dairy brand TINE, which changed its date labels to read ‘best before, but not bad after’. Both examples demonstrate a growing effort from brands to encourage consumers to make their own educated decisions on whether a product can be eaten, rather than simply relying on labels.

Brands could take this further by adding guidance to packaging, rather than simply removing dates. For example, packaging could indicate what customers should look out for when particular products are on the turn, tips on how to revive older produce or even recipe ideas for leftovers.

According to Mintel research, 86% of British food shoppers agree that making sure no food goes to waste is an important way to save money on food. This suggests an already strong consumer association between food waste and saving money, meaning better advice is likely to be particularly welcomed by price-conscious shoppers and could be positioned by retailers as being beneficial to both planet and budget.

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