Aldi becomes latest supermarket to ditch best before dates to cut back on food waste

By the end of the year, Aldi will have removed best before dates from around 60 fresh fruit and veg lines, including apples and pears, citrus fruits, potatoes, carrots and onions. Aldi states this should help households reduce food waste as a result.

It also builds on Aldi’s commitment to reduce food waste by 20% by 2025 and halve it by 2030.

Aldi’s corporate responsibility director Liz Fox said: “One of the reasons we are the UK’s cheapest supermarket is because we cut down on waste wherever we see it. And by getting rid of these dates on packaging, we can help customers get even better value by reducing the amount of food that goes to waste at home.

“This latest step, together with our partnerships with Neighbourly and Too Good To Go, is all part of our efforts to provide affordable, sustainable and responsible products for all our customers.”

Aldi has also confirmed that it provided around 700,000 meals during the summer holidays, as part of a partnership with Neighbourly that saw surplus food redistributed. The company has also partnered with the surplus food app Too Good To Go in select stores that places products that are approaching their use-by date into “Magic Bags” which customers can purchase at discounted prices.

Bye bye best-before

Aldi joins the likes of Sainsbury’s, Asda and Marks and Spencer in removing best before labels from certain fresh produce lines.

Retailers are required to have use-by and/or best-before dates on certain food and beverage products under rules set by the Food Standards Agency (FCA). While use-by dates are applied to foods as a ‘deadline’, when a food presents a high food poisoning risk after a certain amount of time, best-before dates are guidelines for when to eat foods.

Research has repeatedly found that many customers mix the two terms up, throwing away food as soon as it reaches its best-before date, because they assume it is unsafe after this point.

Chief among the organisations researching this topic is WRAP. WRAP estimates that removing the best-before dates from the UK’s ten most commonly-wasted fresh fruit and vegetables would reduce the national food waste mountain generated by homes annually by more than 50,000 tonnes.

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