LIDL has made a MAJOR change to everyday products across all its supermarkets in order to help shoppers decrease waste.
The discount chain is axeing “use by” dates on their milk and yoghurts in order to prevent customers throwing away edible food.
This warning will now be changed to “best before” which gives a broader expiry date and leaves it up to their own judgement.
Richard Inglis, Head of Buying at Lidl GB, said: “At Lidl, we know that a lot of perfectly good milk and yoghurt is being thrown away because of ‘use by’ dates.
“It therefore makes total sense to us to make the switch to ‘best before’ so that shoppers can use their own judgement on whether their milk or yoghurt is good to consume.
“We’ve got a long record of making positive change to reduce food waste, and this latest step builds on our commitment to helping households tackle food waste at home.”
And, Lidl are not the only supermarket to make the move, with Marks and Spencer choosing the same initiative earlier this year.
Co-op further removed best before dates from over 150 fresh products, including apples, broccoli, carrots, onions, oranges, potatoes and tomatoes.
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A small number of more perishable items will still have the labels.
The chain, which has 2,500 stores in the UK, trialled the move on 20 products last year.
Shops will now use encrypted codes so that workers can keep track of how long produce has been on the shelf.
Adele Balmforth at Co-op said: “As we face into a climate, environmental and cost-of-living crisis we are committed to helping our customers cut food waste in the home and save money.
“Date codes can drive decisions in the home, and result in good food being thrown away – which has a cost to both people and to our planet.”
Waitrose have also ditched best before dates on many packaged fruit and vegetable items.
However, use by dates are still in place across products for safety.
Marija Rompani, director of sustainability and ethics at John Lewis Partnership, said: “Food waste continues to be a major issue and in the UK alone 70% of all food wasted is by people in their own homes.”
Plus, in 2018 Tesco decided to remove best-before dates from some of its own-label fruit and vegetables.
In a bid to cut down on waste supermarkets have also been removing different coloured milk caps.
The traditional blue, red and green lids are harder to recycle which has seen major retailers such as Tesco, Lidl, Asda, Aldi, Waitrose and Sainsbury’s implementing the move.
Tesco said the new caps can be recycled back into milk bottles which the retailer said will see an extra 3,900 tonnes of plastic recycled.
James Waddy, category director for Dairy at Tesco, said: “Ensuring our packaging is as sustainable as possible is really important to us, and customer feedback on our trial of these new clear milk caps has been overwhelmingly positive.
“We will continue to look for ways to improve the packaging of our products, and make it even easier for customers to recycle at home.”
TRICKS TO TELL IF FOOD HAS GONE OFF
It is important to remember that “best before dates” are very different from “use by” dates.
Eating food after its use by date (unless it has been frozen on or before its use by date) could result in food poisoning.
Butter can be kept in the fridge for around two weeks or the freezer for six to nine months.
If it has gone off, the airy product will appear pale or show mould while smelling stale.
Eggs are usually safe in the fridge for three to four weeks and when they’ve gone off they will have a sulphurous smell.
The egg white can also turn pink when they’re past their best.
Meanwhile, cheese should be thrown out of the fridge after three to six weeks, or up to eight months after being stored in the freezer.
Darker spots, mould or a stronger smell are good indicators the product has gone off.
Yoghurt can be kept for about a week in the fridge or a month in the freezer.
Water at the top, curdling at the bottom or mould are all signs the dairy food should be binned.
Fruit and vegetables
Apples will last the longest in the fridge, up to two months, while in a fruit bowl they will perish after between two and four weeks.
Wrinkly or discoloured skin with bruising will tell you the fruit has gone off.
Avacados are good for about 10 days in the fridge and will look brown or even black when they’ve gone past their best.
Meanwhile uncooked broccoli can remain edible for two weeks in the fridge, or up to nine days after being cooked.
The veg turns yellow, goes limp and has a bad smell when it’s gone off.
Carrots are edible for around five weeks in the fridge but will go mushy or slimy in texture when it’s time to throw them away.
Bread lasts a long time in the freezer – up to six months – as opposed to a week in the cupboard.
Mould will spread over slices when it has perished.
Unopened cereal is edible for six months or four months after opening.
It will go stale if it has been left too long.
Dry pasta can be stored for up to two years in the cupboard but goes dull in appearance and slimy in texture when its shelf life is up.
Frozen pizza should be binned after six months sitting in the freezer, or five days in the fridge.
There will be mould, a bad taste or hard/dry texture once it has gone off.
Unopened bacon should last up to two weeks in the fridge or eight months in the freezer.
The meat will go grey in colour and have a sour smell when it is unsafe to consume.
Chicken, when uncooked, is advised to be thrown away after two days in the fridge, or after one year in the freezer.
It appears dull and slimy with a bad odour when it has gone off.
Sausages have the same expiry in the fridge, but only last up to nine months in the freezer.
They display the same signs when it is time they should be thrown away.
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Salmon and cod also have the same fridge and freezer expiry, with the same things to watch out for.