Waitrose fruit aisle apples

Waitrose apples will not have ‘best before’ dates on their packaging from next month

Waitrose is going to remove best before dates from nearly 500 fresh products in a bid to reduce food waste.

From September, the supermarket will remove dates on produce such as root vegetables, grapes, citrus and apples, as well as indoor plants, to reduce the volume of household food waste by encouraging customers to use their own judgement.

“UK households throw away 4.5 millions tonnes of edible food every year, meaning that all the energy and resources used in food production is wasted,” said Marija Rompani, John Lewis Partnership director of sustainability & ethics.

“By removing best before dates from our products, we want our customers to use their own judgement to decide whether a product is good to eat or not, which in turn, will increase its chances of being eaten and not becoming waste.”

The move is also part of Waitrose’s commitment to help shoppers reduce food waste at home.

The grocer is a signatory of Wrap’s food waste reduction roadmap, with a target to halve food waste by 2030.

Waitrose will work in partnership with Wrap to phase out the use of best before dates.

Wrap director of collaboration and change, Catherine David, said best before dates on fruit & veg were “unnecessary” and created food waste because they “get in the way of people using their judgement” when food is still good to eat.

“Wasting food feeds climate change and it costs people money,” David added.

“We are absolutely delighted by this move from Waitrose, which will help stop good food ending up in the bin.”

The retailer’s decision to remove best before dates follows a similar announcement by Marks & Spencer.

Use by dates will still be used across products for safety reasons.