The Unexpected Way A UK Supermarket Is Cracking Down On Food Waste

Food waste is an extreme problem in America. According to Feeding America, 108 billion pounds of food is wasted every year in the United States alone. This is around 40% of all food in the U.S., $408 billion, and 130 billion meals that could be going to those in need. There are plenty of ways you can help reduce food waste, according to the EPA. For starters, you should make a meal list that accounts for every ingredient to prevent foods from spoiling. And before hitting the grocery store, check your pantry and fridge to make sure you don't already have an ingredient you plan to buy.

The problem of food waste in Europe is not impressive either. Per Reuters, 88 million tons of food is wasted per year, which is the equivalent of about $177 billion in U.S. currency. The situation is dire considering that food is hard to come by for 55 million people around the globe. That's why a supermarket in the United Kingdom is stepping up to make a difference.

Use at your discretion

Starting in September, U.K. supermarket Waitrose will be removing "best by" dates on about 500 types of food, according to BBC. By removing dates on fruit, vegetables, and indoor plants, the chain hopes that customers will use their own discretion, hopefully increasing the amount of food that's consumed and not wasted. Catherine David, the director of collaboration and change for the charity Waste & Resources Action Program, voiced her food waste concerns. "Wasting food feeds climate change and it costs people money. Best before dates on fruit and veg are unnecessary and create food waste because they get in the way of people using their judgment when food is still good to eat."

According to New Food Magazine, another grocery store in the U.K., Morrisons, removed similar dates from milk in January of this year. After removing these dates on 90% of its milk, the chain added a "sniff it" sticker to remind consumers to check before drinking. "Generations before us have always used the sniff test – and I believe we can too," said Morrisons' senior milk buyer Ian Goode. If this method works, perhaps U.S. consumers will soon see "sniff it" stickers in local grocery stores.