UK supermarkets are gradually getting rid of expiration dates on a range of perishable items in favor of shoppers’ judgment.
While the chain retailers say the move will save customers money and cut waste, it marks a new turn in a grim consumer battle with rampant inflation, according to an article by Bloomberg.
Morrisons kicked off the trend by removing the indicators from 90 percent of its own-brand milk, encouraging shoppers to use a “sniff test” instead.
Budget retailer Asda is the latest to make the shift, scrapping expiration dates on almost 250 of its fresh fruit and vegetable products starting September 1.
Upmarket chain Waitrose is also eliminating best before dates on nearly 500 fresh products including root vegetables, fruits and indoor plants from September, while rival M&S is removing them from over 300 lines of fruit and vegetable items across its stores.
All of the grocers made commitments to cutting food waste along with their announcements on label policy changes, with Co-Op, which removed use by dates on own-brand yogurt, citing waste as the primary driver.
On one hand, for retailers, the change in policy is an environmentally conscious step. However, media outlets have begun suggesting that inflation-stretched Britons should consider consuming expired food items.
UK supermarkets such as: Asda, Co-Op, Morrisons, Waitrose, Tesco Plc and Marks & Spencer Group Plc have all announced a total or partial scrapping of their traditional “best before” and “use by” dates on certain products, in some cases shifting to scannable codes that store staff can monitor to cull expired items.