Tesco is removing its ‘Best Before’ label on selected fruit and vegetables, to help prevent perfectly edible food from being thrown away.

‘Best Before’ labels are put on foods by retailers as a quality indication to show that although they are no longer at their best they are still ok to eat.

This announcement from Tesco follows a recent campaign by the National Federation of Women’s Institutes (NFWI) into causes of food waste, which found that less than half of respondents understood the meaning of ‘Best Before’ dates.

Tesco’s head of food waste, Mark Little, explains: “We know some customers may be confused by the difference between ‘Best Before’ and ‘Use By’ dates on food and this can lead to perfectly edible items being thrown away before they need to be discarded.

“Many customers have told us that they assess their fruit and vegetables by the look of the product rather than the ‘Best Before’ date code on the packaging.”

The Food Standards Agency states that: “The best before date, sometimes shown as BBE, is about quality and not safety. The food will be safe to eat after this date but may not be at its best.”

Other recent food waste initiatives by Tesco include the ‘Perfectly Imperfect’ range which sell ‘wonky’ fruit and vegetables using produce that falls outside of Tesco specifications, in order to offer produce to customers at lower prices.

David Moon, head of business collaboration at Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP), added: “This change by Tesco provides a good opportunity to learn about the customer response, and we anticipate Tesco will share their findings”.