Morrisons is scrapping date labels and removing ‘Display Until’ messaging on nearly 200 of its fresh fruit, vegetable and salad items in a bid to prevent food waste and help customers save money this Christmas.
The move follows a survey by WRAP revealing that UK households waste 4.5 million tonnes of food, costing the average family £720 per year, with fresh potatoes and carrots cited to be some of the top wasted produce items.
However, whilst some items will have their dates removed completely, such as bananas, watermelon and pineapple, most will be replaced by a code system, which will be used by Morrisons workers to ensure the same freshness on shelf.
According to WRAP, enough potatoes are thrown away each year to produce Christmas Day spuds for the whole country for the next 48 year, while the carrots customers waste weigh the same as 636,000 reindeer.
The former Big 4 grocer has already started to remove dates on produce labels ahead of the start of the big Christmas food shop.
“People tend to over buy food for Christmas dinner to ensure plenty for all but by cooking what you need, saving veg for meals between Christmas and New Year as well as enjoying leftovers, budgets can go further,” Morrisons head of technical produce and horticulture Damon Johnson said.
“Now more than ever it’s important to help our customers to reduce their food waste. We hope by removing dates from our produce lines, changing our messaging on packs and by providing our customers with advice on storage, we can support households in extending the life of their food and save customers money this Christmas.”
Next year, the supermarket giant aims to update its packaging for more perishable pre-packed products such as berries, grapes and stone fruit.
As a result, the changes to move away from ‘Display Until’ and introduce ‘Best Before’ labelling to indicate the quality of produce to consumers.
WRAP director of collaboration and change Catherine David added: “WRAP is thrilled to see these changes from Morrisons on its products to help tackle food waste in our homes. Wasting food feeds climate change and costs us money.”
“The right date label, or no date label, has a big influence on what we use and what we throw away. For most fruit and veg, date labels are unnecessary, and our research has shown that removing them can save the equivalent of seven million shopping baskets’ worth from our household bins a year. Storing most fruit and veg products in the fridge, below five degrees, will keep them fresher longer.”