Morrisons Date Codes 3

Morrisons is to scrap date labels and remove ‘display until’ messaging on nearly 200 fresh fruit, veg and salad items.

The changes will start to come in before Christmas and include popular festive veg items, with further changes to be brought in over the course of next year.

Whilst some items will have their dates removed completely, such as bananas, watermelon and pineapple, most will be replaced by a code system, which will be used by Morrisons colleagues to ensure the same freshness on shelf.

The supermarket said it wanted to encourage customers to use their own judgment as to whether produce is good to eat after being bought and stored at home, which would help them reduce food waste and save money.

The move is the latest following a landmark report by Wrap in February which called on supermarkets to stop using best before dates, and to move en masse to selling loose fruit and veg in a bid to reduce the use of plastic.

Earlier this year, Morrisons was the first to replace use by dates with best before dates on its own brand milk. In 2020, Morrisons also replaced use by dates across some of its own brand yoghurt and hard cheese ranges.

It also offers more than 75 types of loose fruit and vegetables throughout the year,

Next year, Morrisons said it would update its packaging for more perishable prepacked products such as berries, grapes and stone fruit. The changes will see the products move away from ‘display until’ and introduce best before labelling to indicate the quality of produce to customers.

In September, Asda ditched best before dates on nearly 250 fruit and veg products including citrus fruits, potatoes, cauliflowers and carrots, across all its UK stores.

It followed similar steps by Waitrose, Lidl, M&S and Ocado.

“People tend to over-buy food for Christmas dinner to ensure plenty for all, but by cooking what you need, saving veg for meals between Christmas and new year as well as enjoying leftovers, budgets can go further,” said Damon Johnson, head of technical produce and horticulture at Morrisons.

“Now more than ever it’s important to help our customers to reduce their food waste. We hope by removing dates from our produce lines, changing our messaging on packs and by providing our customers with advice on storage, we can support households in extending the life of their food and save customers money this Christmas.”

Wrap director of collaboration and change Catherine David said: “Wrap is thrilled to see these changes from Morrisons on its products to help tackle food waste in our homes.

“Wasting food feeds climate change and costs us money. The right date label, or no date label, has a big influence on what we use and what we throw away. For most fruit and veg, date labels are unnecessary, and our research has shown that removing them can save the equivalent of seven million shopping baskets’ worth from our household bins a year.

“We call on more retailers to make these changes.”