UK retailers should sell fresh uncut fruit and vegetables without expiry dates or plastic packaging to prevent 14million baskets of food from going to waste, a report has recommended.
Waste reduction charity WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) conducted an 18-month study of five frequently wasted items, including apples, bananas, broccoli, cucumber and potatoes, which were stored in their original packaging and at different temperatures.
The charity found that selling all five best before dates in bulk and removing best before dates could result in a combined annual saving of around 100,000 tonnes of household food waste, or over 10,300 tonnes of plastic and 130,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent.
The study also found that fresh, uncut produce could be good to eat long after the expiration date, and most items lasted longer in the fridge.
WRAP said it had shared its findings and recommendations with the UK’s biggest food retailers, but added that implementing them was “likely to take time”.
Read more: An ancestral practice makes it possible to preserve the remains of crops to fight against food poverty
The charity’s chief executive, Marcus Gover, said: “This important research could be a game-changer in the fight against food waste and plastic pollution. We have demystified the relationship between food waste, plastic packaging , date labels and food storage.
“We are all living with the reality of the climate emergency and the rising cost of living. This new clarity could not be more timely. We need retailers to step up and follow our recommendations so that we can achieve real progress in the fight against food waste and plastic. It saves the planet and saves us money at the same time – a real win-win.”
Food Standards Agency chair Susan Jebb added that companies should ensure the correct date label is placed on their products to help consumers make informed choices and reduce the risk of source diseases. food.
She said: “A best before date is about quality, which means food is safe to eat after that date, although it may not be at its best.
“Companies must post use-by dates for foods like meat products and ready-to-eat salads that could be dangerous if left out too long.
“Date labels are important – not only to reduce food waste – but also to keep us safe.”