War on Food Waste: Comply Direct member, Waitrose, removes best before dates from a range of products!

17th August 2022

Charlotte Davies

Comply Direct’s loyal member Waitrose, is leading the war on food waste. From September, Waitrose will have removed the best before dates from a range of 500 fresh food products, specifically fruit and vegetables, such as lettuces or peppers.

In the UK alone 9.5 million tonnes of food is wasted every year, 70% of which would have been intended for consumption. Not only does this equate to more than 25 million tonnes of Green House Gas (GHG) emissions, equivalent to the emissions from 10 million cars, but also costs the average UK family £470 a year.

It is estimated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that food waste globally contributes to 8-10% of total man-made GHG emissions. Food production uses vast amounts of land, water and energy, which in turn are also wasted. Shockingly, if food waste was a country, it would be the 3rd largest emitter behind China and USA. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 is to half food waste by 2030, which for the UK means cutting food waste by a further 1.8 million tonnes to reach this goal.

In removing the best-before date, Waitrose aims to reduce food waste, by encouraging people to use judgement rather than being misled by the best-before date, that are indicative of food quality opposed to safety. The director of sustainability and ethics at the John Lewis Partnership, Marija Rompani, explained that by removing a product’s best-before date this “increases its chances of being eaten and not becoming waste, intern saving on our weekly household food shop”. This was supported earlier this year within a Waste Resources Action Programme (WRAP) report which showed not only clear influence of the date label on disposal decisions, but that products are typically good to eat after the best-before date has passed. Similarly, WRAP highlighted best-before dates had the greatest impact on food disposal, particularly in fresh products. Waitrose are taking a leading approach to help reduce UK food waste and in turn reduce associated GHG emissions, in line with WRAP’s recent fresh produce recommendations.

For more information about food waste and what your organisation can do please visit the WRAP website, HERE.