Co-op follows Morrisons and will change use by dates to best before dates on some dairy products to help budgets and cut waste
Co-op has become the second food retailer to scrap use by dates on some of its food products.
It is to get rid of the instruction on its own-brand yoghurts and instead replace use by with best before dates instead.
Traditionally yoghurts have carried ‘use by’ dates, which are linked to food safety and guide shoppers to not consume the item past the specified date on the packaging, whereas ‘best before’ refers to quality and often allows for the food to be eaten after that date.
The change is to be made to its entire range of own-brand yoghurts as part of efforts to reduce food waste while also helping customers make the most of the items they buy with food prices and bills at an all time high.
Co-op is the second store to make changes to the way it displays dates on certain products.
Supermarket giant Morrisons has already confirmed it is ditching use by dates for its own-brand milk and instead replacing them with best before dates, while also encouraging its shoppers to adopt the sniff test as part of efforts to decide whether food items can still be consumed.
Managers at Co-op say they estimate 42,000 tonnes – or £100m worth – of edible yoghurt is thrown out by UK homes each year, due to the guidance printed on packs.
Nick Cornwell, head of food technical, Co-op, said: “Yoghurt can be safe to eat if stored unopened in a fridge after the date mark shown, so we have made the move to best before dates to help reduce food waste.
"The acidity of yoghurt acts as a natural defence and we’d encourage shoppers to use their judgement on the quality of their yoghurt if it is past the best before date.”
Testing shows that yoghurt products are safe to consume past listed expiration dates and that the main change is one of quality. Co-op’s new guidance aims to encourage shoppers to check the quality of the product and use visual cues to establish whether the food is still suitable for them to eat.
Mr Cornwell added: "Controlling food waste is not only beneficial for managing household budgets, it also has an environmental benefit and will ultimately help reduce carbon emissions. We encourage more retailers and brands to review their on-pack guidance and make the switch to best before dates for yoghurts."
Co-op says it will introduce best before dates to its own-brand yogurts from next month and will have the full range amended by October.