Co-op scraps use-by dates on yogurts

By Gwen Ridler contact

- Last updated on GMT

Co-op has removed use-by dates from its own-label yogurts
Co-op has removed use-by dates from its own-label yogurts

Related tags: Dairy

Co-op is the latest supermarket to scrap use-by date labels on its own-label produce in a bid to cut down on food waste.

The retailer will replace use-by guidance on packaging with best-before dates on its entire range of own-label yogurts. It hoped the move would curb the 42,000 tonnes – worth £100m – of yogurt thrown away in UK homes each year.

Data from the Waste Resources Action Plan (WRAP) suggested 50% of yogurts are thrown away in unopened packs and 70% of all the yogurt wasted in the home was due to them ‘not being used in time’, with the date label cited as the reason.

Best-before

Nick Cornwell, head of food technical at the Co-op, said: “Yoghurt can be safe to eat if stored unopened in a fridge after the date mark shown, so we have made the move to best before dates to help reduce food waste.

“The acidity of yoghurt acts as a natural defence and we’d encourage shoppers to use their judgement on the quality of their yoghurt if it is past the best before date.”

Testing by the Co-op found that yogurt is safe to consume past its listed expiration date and that the main change is of quality. The retailer’s new guidance aimed to encourage consumers to check the quality of the product and use visual cues to establish the suitability to consume.

Consumer confidence

WRAP director of collaboration and change Catherine David added: “Applying a best before date helps give people the confidence to use their judgement to eat beyond a best before date and use more of the yoghurt they buy – protecting the planet and their pockets.

“We’d encourage all food businesses to follow WRAP/FSA/Defra best practice and identify where products, especially dairy items, like yoghurt, can have a best before date applied and to make that change wherever possible. This action from Co-op shows what a fantastic opportunity there is to stop unnecessary food waste.”

Businesses from across the food and drink industry have begun to remove use-by dates from packaging in a bid to cut down on food waste.

Morrisons led the charge at the start of this year by removing use-by dates on its own-label milk packaging.

Related topics: NPD, Packaging & Labelling

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