Is removing labels the best idea for shoppers?
Cautious approach A good thing to see Appearances Positive step
Marion Ward Brian Ward Mary-Anne and Poppy Susan Jackson with Luke
Tesco is removing “best before” labels from many of its fresh produce lines, which the supermarket giant says will help reduce waste.
Sharon MacFarlane, duty manager at Tesco Extra in Belhaven Road, Wishaw, explained that from the start of this week, the supermarket is removing the advice from about 70 pre-packaged produce lines to avoid “perfectly edible” food being discarded.
The items that will lose the label include apples, potatoes, tomatoes, lemons, other citrus fruit and onions.
“Best before” labels indicate that the quality of a product may deteriorate after the date indicated.
In contrast, “use by” dates indicate when it becomes less safe to consume the food.
“A lot of customers are telling us that they will judge a product by its appearance and feel, rather than what it says on a sticker,” explained Sharon.
The Wishaw Press went to the Belhaven Road store to ask shoppers what they thought about the latest move to reduce food waste.
“I go by the appearance of fruit and veg rather than what it says on the packet,” said Maryanne Gordon, of Dimsdale, whose five- year- old daughter, Poppy, has been learning about healthy eating as part of Health Week at St Ignatius Primary in Wishaw.
“We still eat food after its best before date, within reason. If it’s squishy, I throw it out.”
Susan Jackson, of Wishaw’s Bluebell Wynd, says she doesn’t automatically discard food when it reaches its best before date, but will throw it out when it’s past its sell-by.
But she agrees that Tesco’s decision to remove “best before” labels is a positive step towards reducing food waste.
Marion Ward admits she errs on the side of caution when it comes to eating produce that is nearing the end of its shelf life.
“If it’s coming up to its sell-by date, I will not take the chance, even if it looks alright,” said Marion, of Hamilton.
“I even throw out tins. Years ago, we didn’t have such things as sell-by dates.”
Her husband, Brian, says he assesses food’s fitness for consumption by its appearance.
“The budget supermarkets have got good sellby dates.
“I have bought loose fruit that doesn’t have labels and have found that it’s all dried up inside,” he said.
“I think doing away with the “best before” stickers is a good thing, though.
“It will encourage more people to keep food for a lot longer.”