As of today, anyone using one of the district’s three Tesco store will notice a significant change to food labelling.
Britain’s biggest supermarket chain will no longer attach best before date labels to its own brand vegetable and fruit products.
The move is aimed at cutting down food which becomes waste when it is thrown out despite being safe to eat.
- Conservatives: Campaign to win in Canterbury begins today
- Student blocks are the result of a lack of planning vision
Some 200,000 tonnes of food is binned a year because people throw it away once it has passed the “best before” date.
The district has six Tesco outlets: the supermarket at Whitstable, a Tesco Metro in Whitefriars and a Tesco Express in New Dover Road, one at Tankerton and two in Herne Bay at Canterbury Road and Sea Street.
Cleaner Canterbury campaigner Sian Pettman says she understands why Tesco is dropping the labels, but says people still find them useful.
“They were introduced as a public health thing and I can remember an aunt of mine stacking huge amounts of food for years,” she said.
“I can see why Tesco would want to do this, but I do think they are a useful guide, a reference point for people.”
“Best before” dates are often set very cautiously and have no connection to the actual life of the food.
They differ from “use by” dates which are applied as definitive indicators after which foods like fish and meat should not be eaten.
Research by the Women’s Institute found that fewer than half of shoppers understood “best before” labels while more than 70% understood “use by”.
Tesco’s head food waste reduction Mark Little said: “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.
“We have made this change to fruit and vegetable packaging as they are among the most wasted foods.”