M&S removes 'best-before' dates from fruit and veg

1st February 2019

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Ian Brooks

Marks & Spencer is trialling over 90 lines of fruit and vegetables without 'best-before' date stickers in a bid to reduce the volume of food waste in UK homes.

The retail giant will also introduce trained greengrocers to provide customers with tips on how to preserve fresh produce, and sell loose items without plastic packaging as part of the trial.

The range not only includes hard fruit and vegetables such as potatoes and bananas, but also more perishable items like soft fruit and berries, which will be sold in compostable punnets.

M&S head of food sustainability and IEMA director, Louise Nicholls, said: “We're proud to launch a series of market-leading initiatives without compromising on food quality and contributing to waste.“

Alongside the three-month trial, which is taking place at an M&S store in Tolworth, the retailer committed to launching additional lines of loose produce and more sustainable alternatives to plastic in all its UK shops.

This will involve replacing plastic produce bags with paper ones and phasing out barcode stickers in favour of eco-friendly alternatives, with this intended to save 580 tonnes of plastic waste over two years.

M&S said it hoped the changes would be a springboard for its long-term plastic reduction strategy, providing insights and consumer feedback for an effective approach across the UK.

This comes after M&S set a target to become a zero-waste business by 2025, and to ensure that all its packaging is 'widely recycled' by 2022 to encourage higher recycling rates among its customers.

The retailer has already phased out 75 million pieces of plastic cutlery given out in its stores each year, and replaced two million straws with paper alternatives as part of a plan to remove 1,000 tonnes of plastic packaging by spring this year.

“Our trial at Tolworth is an important milestone in our plastic reduction journey and bringing back the traditional greengrocer will play a key part in educating our customers,“ Nicholls continued.

“We know our customers want to play their part in cutting out plastic, while as a business our goal is to become zero-waste by 2025. Our plan is to create long-term impact in the future using tangible insights from the Tolworth store trial.“

Image credit: iStock

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