Affordable supermarket Lidl is trying to tackle food waste with the launch of its new £1.50 ‘Too Good to Waste’ box, containing fruit and veg that is still good to eat – despite being past its best.
The 5kg boxes, which will be assembled every morning by ‘freshness specialists’ have been rolled out across 122 stores for the trial. Lidl bosses hope the affordable price point will encourage customers to buy produce that they may otherwise have overlooked.
If the trial rolls out, nationwide, it could help save 10,000 tonnes of surplus produce a year.
Christian Härtnagel, chief executive Lidl UK, said: “Proportionately, we sell the most fruit and veg in the sector, but we know from our data that fresh produce is one of the biggest contributors to food waste in stores, so we’re excited by the difference our ‘Too Good to Waste’ initiative will make.
“Not only will it help customers consider items that they might have previously dismissed, it will also provide an opportunity for them to make further savings.”
The initiative follows one launched by Tesco earlier this year as the retailer tries to reduce waste – removing ‘Best Before’ dates from almost 70 fruit and vegetable products
‘Best Before’ labels will be taken off apples, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, lemons and other citrus fruit among others.
Consumer confusion over what the labels mean led to Tesco deciding to ditch them. ‘Best Before’ dates mean the food is edible, but likely past its best – unlike ‘Use By’ dates which suggest eating the food after the date could pose a safety risk.
Tesco said its decision was informed by research by the National Federation of Women’s Institutes [NFWI], which discovered that less than 50 percent of respondents knew what ‘best before’ dates means.
Tesco’s Head of Food Waste, 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. Many customers have told us that they assess their fruit and vegetables by the look of the product rather than the ‘Best Before’ date code on the packaging.”