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UK: Lidl scraps “Use By” dates on own brand dairy to slash consumer food waste

Discount Retail Chain Lidl UK, owned by the German Schwarz Group, is replacing “Use By” dates with “Best Before” on all its own brand milk and yogurt. The move forms part of the discounter’s plans to tackle food waste, as it encourages shoppers to use their judgment on whether products are still good to eat. 

Lidl GB has announced changes to labeling on its yogurt and fresh milk ranges, helping customers reduce food waste at home. Customers will discover the change on milk this month, while yogurt will be implemented in early 2024. 

Richard Inglis, head of buying at Lidl GB, says: “At Lidl, we know that a lot of perfectly good milk and yogurt is being thrown away because of ‘Use By’ dates. It therefore makes sense to us to make the switch to ‘Best Before’ so that shoppers can use their own judgment on whether their milk or yogurt is good to consume.” 

Tackling home food waste

Lidl GB has become the latest retailer to scrap “Use By” dates across its key dairy lines, helping prevent edible food from being thrown away.

Lidl GB is asking consumers to check for themselves whether a product is still good to consume.Earlier this year, Sainsbury’s announced it is also replacing “Use By” dates with “Best Before” dates across its own-brand milk range to reduce food waste. The new labeling will roll out in the new year, and the change will be complete by the end of February 2024.

Lidl’s updated milk packaging has already started filtering into stores across England and Wales, and customers can expect to see the change on yogurts starting early 2024.

Milk and yogurt that has been stored correctly and doesn’t smell bad or appear lumpy is safe to enjoy. Lidl is therefore encouraging consumers to use their judgment and be guided by “Best Before” dates to help determine whether a product is fit for consumption. 

“We’ve got a long record of making positive changes to reduce food waste, and this latest step builds on our commitment to helping households tackle food waste at home,” says Inglis.

The move announced today bolsters existing action taken by the discounter to tackle food waste, which also includes initiatives to tackle waste in stores such as Lidl’s Too Good to Waste boxes, which help reduce food waste by 17,000 metric tons annually by selling 5 kg of surplus fruit and vegetables for £1.50 (US$1.90). 

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