UK – In a bid to combat food waste and empower consumers to make informed choices, Lidl GB has announced a significant change in its labeling strategy. 

The supermarket giant is replacing “Use By” dates with “Best Before” on its own-brand milk and yogurt products. This move aligns with Lidl’s commitment to reducing unnecessary food waste, allowing shoppers to exercise their judgment in determining the freshness and edibility of these products.

Customers will witness this labeling change on milk products starting this month, with yogurt expected to follow suit in early 2024. 

Richard Inglis, the Head of Buying at Lidl GB, emphasized the brand’s awareness that perfectly good milk and yogurt often go to waste due to “Use By” dates. The switch to “Best Before” aims to empower shoppers to make more sustainable choices and minimize food wastage.

Lidl GB is not alone in its commitment to reducing food waste through strategic labeling adjustments. 

Earlier this year, Sainsbury’s announced a similar initiative, replacing “Use By” dates with “Best Before” on its own-brand milk range, with full implementation scheduled by the end of February 2024.

In 2018, Tesco led the way for high-street supermarkets when it got rid of best-before dates on more than 100 fresh food products.This year, it embarked on changing ‘Use By’ to ‘Best Before’ dates on more than 30 yogurt lines.

Last year, other UK supermarkets such as Waitrose, Marks & Spencer, and Morrisons joined the waste reduction efforts.

Waitrose scrapped off best-before dates from nearly 500 fresh food products. Marks & Spencer axed best-before dates on more than 300 fruit and vegetable products after a successful trial.

Morrisons also removed use-by dates on milk and encouraged consumers to use a “sniff test” instead to determine if it is OK to consume, a move the FSA cautioned against.

The revised packaging encourages customers to trust their judgment, considering factors such as correct storage, absence of unpleasant odors, and a smooth consistency. The message is clear: if a product meets these criteria and falls within its “Best Before” date, it is safe for consumption.

This recent labeling shift adds to Lidl GB’s existing efforts to combat food waste. The supermarket has introduced initiatives like “Too Good to Waste” boxes, reducing food waste in stores by selling surplus fruits and vegetables at a discounted price. 

For all the latest food safety news from Africa and the World, subscribe to our NEWSLETTER, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.