Asda is set to remove ‘best before’ dates from the packaging of almost 250 of its fresh fruit and vegetable products across UK stores, replacing them with a display code used by employees to gauge a product’s freshness.

Aiming to reduce food waste and help customers save money, the new procedure is said to be supported by specialist greengrocers to ensure the longest life possible for each product. Similar information will be available to customers on the packaging itself and online, helping consumers to manage their own waste.

The change comes in light of data released by WRAP last year, warning that the average family wastes £60 worth of food and drink every month – a figure with a carbon equivalent of one in five cars on UK roads. WRAP reports that food waste in the UK amounts to approximately 36 million tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions each year, with the global sum reaching 8% of total GHG emissions.

Catherine David, director of Collaboration and Change at WRAP, said, “Our research has shown that date labels on fruit and veg are unnecessary – getting rid of them can prevent the equivalent of 7 million shopping baskets’ worth from our household bins.

“We know that wasting food feeds climate change and costs us money. The influence of no date label or the right date label on what we use and what we throw away is huge.

“More supermarkets need to get ahead on food waste by axing date labels from fresh produce, allowing people to use their own judgement.”

Andy Cockshaw, head of Technical at Asda IPL, claimed, “Reducing food waste in our business and in customers’ homes is a priority and we are always looking at different ways to achieve this. We know for customers this has become more important than ever as many families are struggling with the cost-of-living crisis and are looking to make savings wherever they can.”

Asda hopes that removing ‘best before’ labels will contribute to their target of a 20% reduction of waste by 2025.

The news comes after the company’s collaboration with WhyWaste earlier this year, releasing a new data solution to quickly identify expiring products and reduce food waste.

Biotech company GreenPod Labs recently launched a form of active packaging to slow down the ripening and microbial growth in fresh produce, extending its shelf life.