Asda is replacing the ‘use by’ date labels with ‘best before’ alternatives on over half of its own-brand yoghurts, a move intended to reduce food waste in the home.
According to a report produced by WRAP, 70% of all the yoghurt wasted in UK households is attributable to consumers failing to eat it before the date displayed on its ‘use by’ label, and that half of all wasted yoghurt is never opened. Asda hopes to prevent unnecessary food disposal by changing the labels of such products as its natural yoghurt, Greek Yoghurt, and Extra Special Strawberry and Hazelnut.
The company reports that its technical manager, microbiologist, and product manager have been conducting food safety and quality evaluations to ensure that the twenty-eight lines set to undergo the change can be safely labelled with ‘best before’ dates.
“We are always looking at ways we can help customers reduce food waste in the home, and with research from WRAP saying 54,000 tonnes of edible yoghurt is thrown away unnecessarily each year, we are hopeful this change will both make a big difference to the environment and save customers money at the same time,” said Paul Gillow, vice president of Fresh & Frozen Foods at Asda.
Catherine David, director of Collaboration & Change, WRAP, added: “WRAP is thrilled to see our partner Asda make these changes on yoghurts – which will help reduce food waste in our homes. Wasting food feeds climate change and costs us money – with the average family spending £700 year on good food which ends up in the bin. Our research shows applying the appropriate date label to products like yoghurts can help reduce the amount of good food that is thrown in the bin.”
The announcement comes after Asda’s previous removal of ‘best before’ dates from almost 250 of its fresh fruit and vegetable products across UK stores. Instead, the packs will feature a display code that employees can use to gauge the freshness of a product.
M&S adopted a similar approach with its own fruit and vegetable products, while Waitrose encouraged customers to judge a product’s freshness for themselves by removing ‘best before’ dates from nearly 500 of its products.
In another effort to reduce food waste, Unilever is working alongside Too Good to Go to provide home delivery for in-date food that would otherwise be thrown away, aiming to give consumers more access to fresh food that has passed its sell-by date.