Sainsbury’s is ditching the ‘freeze on day of purchase’ advice on its packaging in a bid to stop over-cautious shoppers from throwing away up to 800,000 tonnes of food a year.

The retailer is rolling out the new advice - ‘freeze as soon as possible after purchase and always within the use-by date’ - following research from Wrap that found 60% of consumers thought food had to be frozen on the day they purchased it.

“The ‘freeze on day of purchase’ advice needs to be changed as there is no food safety reason why it cannot be frozen at any point prior to the use-by date,” said Sainsbury’s head of product technology for fresh and frozen Beth Hart.

“As one customer pointed out to me while discussing the previous labelling, ‘how does the product know which day I purchased it on?’”

Wrap’s research also found most freezers were only three-quarters full, suggesting shoppers could make better use of their freezers to avoid wasting fresh food.