Marks & Spencer has removed ‘Use By’ dates across its RSPCA Assured Select Farms British and organic fresh milk as part of its commitment to halving food waste by 2030 and reaching net zero by 2040. The change, which is being rolled out across all M&S UK stores, will see ‘Use By’ dates on fresh milk replaced with ‘Best Before’ dates.
M&S is the first retailer to offer ‘Best Before’ labelling on fully recyclable milk bottles, following the removal of coloured plastic caps on milk earlier this year, helping customers to tackle food waste and play their part in a circular economy – two key areas where customers want to make an impact.
M&S’ latest Family Matters Index revealed that 72% of UK families are taking steps to reduce household waste and 55% of families say it’s important that the shops they buy from make it easier for them to make more sustainable choices. The combination of improved shelf life and overall quality of milk in recent years has enabled M&S to make the change to ‘Best Before’ dates, which means customers can use their judgement before throwing away milk which may be too good to waste. UK homes are estimated to waste over 490 million pints of milk a year according to WRAP, and M&S is making the change to help its customers avoid unnecessary waste.
Catherine David, Director Collaboration and Change at WRAP commented “Milk is the third most wasted food in the home behind potatoes and bread, with around 490 million pints poured down the drain every year – 18 and a half per household – worth £270 million. The main reason is not drinking before the Use-By date. By changing its British and organic fresh milk to a Best-Before date, M&S is instantly helping its customers save money and cut waste by giving them more time to consume the milk they buy. WRAP’s joint Best Practice with the Food Standards Agency, Defra and Dairy UK states to only apply a Use-By date when required for food safety reasons, and it’s fantastic to see M&S – a Courtauld 2030 signatory – making this switch. This type of change to labelling is fundamental in helping people reduce household food waste, which currently tops more than 6.6 million tonnes each year across the UK.”
M&S is targeting a 50% reduction in food waste by 2030, with 100% of edible surplus to be redistributed by 2025 as part of its roadmap to net zero, and M&S’ Sustainability Report released today details the progress made.
In July last year, M&S removed best before dates across over 300 fruit and veg lines. These were replaced with a new code which M&S store colleagues use to ensure freshness and quality is maintained while allowing customers to throw away less food at home by using their judgement on what’s still good to eat. Alongside this, M&S introduced food waste redistribution as a key target for all stores, and its 7 year old Neighbourly partnership reached the milestone of 60 million meals donated to UK charities to help those in need.
M&S’ 2023 Sustainability Report released today details the progress made across the business including:
- Saving over 10 million pieces of plastic by introducing a Bring Your Own Bag initiative to Click & Collect orders within Clothing & Home
- Becoming the first national retailer to sell only 100% slower reared, higher welfare RSCPA Assured fresh chicken
- Bringing high speed electric vehicle charge points to M&S stores across the UK
- Launching our biggest ever health campaign partnering with the UK’s national football teams and their football associations to encourage families to make healthier food choices
Victoria McKenzie-Gould, Director of Corporate Affairs at M&S commented: “…We know tackling food waste is a priority for our customers and we’re confident that these small changes to the packaging of our RSPCA Assured fresh milk, will make a big difference – as seen when we led the way in the removal of best before dates on our fruit and vegetables.
For more information visit marksandspencer.com