Earlier this year, major UK grocery store chain Sainsbury’s announced its new “Taste Me, Don’t Waste Me” program, in which stores will provide boxes of surplus produce at a steep discount, says New Food Magazine.
Sainsbury’s first tried the program in January and has since decided to continue it at 200 stores across the country. Each box costs only £2 (around $2.50) and contains several fruits and vegetables. The program is part of a broader push to reduce the grocery chain’s food waste, as it has committed to cut waste in half within the next seven years.
Sainsbury’s is also taking steps to encourage more responsible food use in the home by removing “best before” dates from over 200 product lines, New Food says. Consumers often confuse “best before” dates, which indicate when the food is at its peak quality, with “use-by” dates, which indicate when the food may become unsafe — the UK Food Standards Agency explains the difference on its website.
This label can lead to buyers throwing away food that is still perfectly safe and tasty — just not as fresh as it was before. By removing the “best before” date, Sainsbury’s hopes to encourage buyers to eat food that they might otherwise throw out.
Reducing waste and selling produce at a discount is great for shoppers’ wallets. Buyers will spend less on each produce item they choose and will also buy fewer items since they’re not throwing as much away.
Reducing waste also helps the environment by eliminating unnecessary transport of food. Shipping by truck, plane, or ship puts heat-trapping gases from burning fuel into the atmosphere. Wasting less food means less total shipping, which means less air pollution and a cooler planet.
Richard Crampton, Director of Fresh Food at Sainsbury’s, is pleased with the success of the “Taste Me, Don’t Waste Me” program.
“We believe that everyone deserves to eat well at an affordable price,” he says, “and we hope this additional support will ensure that good quality food doesn’t go to waste.”
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