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Source: The Co-op

Shoppers will see changes in store later this month, with best before dates removed from all of Co-op’s fresh produce with a few exceptions

Co-op is removing best before dates on more than 150 lines of fresh produce to help customers cut food waste and save money.

Shoppers will see changes in store later this month, with best before dates removed from almost all of Co-op’s fresh produce including apples, oranges, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, onions and broccoli.

A small number of more perishable produce lines, or those where it can be harder to use visual cues to judge whether they can be eaten, will continue to have best before dates, the supermarket said.

“As we face into a climate, environmental and cost of living crisis, we are committed to helping our customers cut food waste in the home and save money,” said Co-op propositions director Adele Balmforth. “Date codes can drive decisions in the home and result in good food being thrown away, which has a cost to both people and our planet.”

Product testing by Wrap showed fruit and veg can be good to eat well beyond best before dates when stored in optimal conditions – up to 70 days longer in the case of apples.

The supermarket has also added storage instructions to packs to “help products last longer” which “sits alongside the on-pack message of ‘if it still looks good enough to eat, it is’”, said Balmforth.

The move follows a small-scale trial last year.

“We’re delighted to see Co-op continue to take action to reduce household food waste, saving customers money and conserving the planet’s precious resources,” said Catherine David, director of collaboration and change at Wrap.

“The average family spends £700 year on good food which ends up in the bin – moves like this from Co-op help to change that,” David added.

Last year, Co-op also introduced a “freeze me” message to its own-brand milk products in a bid to cut down on milk being wasted at home, and also replaced use by dates with best before dates on own-brand yoghurts.