M&S has now removed best before dates from fresh produce packaging in a bid to tackle food waste, both in store and in UK households.
After research from sustainability charity WRAP has shown that an estimated 6.6 million tonnes of food is thrown away by UK households every year, the supermarket retailer has announced that best before dates will be removed from the labelling of over 300 fruit and vegetable products – which accounts for 85% of its fresh produce offering.
This will include on commonly-wasted items like apples, potatoes, broccoli, and so much more.
Best before dates will now be replaced with a new code, which M&S staff will use to “ensure freshness and quality is maintained”.
The retailer says the change to packaging – which is being rolled out across all M&S stores in the UK from this week – is designed to “encourage customers to throw away less edible food at home” and urges people to “use their judgement”.
The removal of best before dates is part of M&S’s pledge to halve food waste by 2030 – with 100% of edible surplus to be redistributed by 2025.
Cutting best before dates is one of several other steps the retailer is taking to reduce food waste, including having partnered with charity Neighbourly back in 2015 and donating over 44 million meals, which store teams work closely with local communities to ensure edible food surplus is redistributed, and launching the ‘Sparking Change’ challenge nationwide, which encourages customers to reduce food waste recipes using leftovers, as well as expert tips on batch cooking and storing food to make it last longer.
“We’re determined to tackle food waste,” said Andrew Clappen, Director of Food Technology at M&S.
“Our teams and suppliers work hard to deliver fresh, delicious, responsibly sourced produce at great value and we need to do all we can to make sure none of it gets thrown away [but] to do that, we need to be innovative and ambitious.
“Removing best before dates where safe to do so, trialling new ways to sell our products, and galvanising our customers to get creative with leftovers and embrace change.”
He insisted that the retailer is aiming for its target of halving food waste, and will keep searching for solutions while still maintaining “the standards and value our customers expect.”
WRAP says it’s “thrilled” that M&S is taking steps to reduce food waste.
“Removing dates on fresh fruit and veg can save the equivalent of seven million shopping baskets of food being binned in our homes,” added Catherine David, Director of Collaboration and Change at WRAP.
“We urge more supermarkets to get ahead on food waste by axing date labels from fresh produce, allowing people to use their own judgement.”
Featured Image – M&S
These three Greater Manchester Wilko stores are reopening as Poundlands this weekend
The first 10 Wilko stores to start new lives as Poundlands are reopening this weekend, and three of them are in Greater Manchester.
We all know by now that it’s been a turbulent couple of weeks for Wilko after it entered administration earlier last month, but after it was sadly announced back on 11 September that all of the retailer’s outlets across the UK would be forced to close, leaving around 12,500 jobs at risk, a glimmer of hope was offered.
And that glimmer of hope was that several dozen stores had been saved.
Only, they wouldn’t be remaining under the Wilko name, as they’d be reopening as another popular bargain retailer instead, and that’s because Pepco Group – the company which owns Poundland in the UK – managed to strike a deal with Wilko administrators PwC to take control of up to 71 store leases.
With lease assignments expected to be completed in the coming weeks, according to Pepco, this meant that the some 71 stores would join Poundland’s existing 800-plus UK outlets before 2023 is out.
Pepco Group published the full list of stores set for conversion earlier this month, and also confirmed it would be offering employment some of Wilko’s former employees – with it being good news for six Greater Manchester sites.
Altrincham, Bolton, Eccles, Sale, Leigh, and Stockport were confirmed to be the region’s towns set to get themselves a new Poundland, and Poundland added that it intends to convert the stores over to its brand “as soon as is practical”.
It turns out that window of practicality has arrived this weekend for three of those confirmed sites.
Among the 10 former Wilko branches across the UK that are set to start a new chapter and begin lives as Poundlands this weekend are sites at The Peel Centre in Stockport, The Mall in Eccles, and on Lord Street in Leigh.
It’s expected that dates for the new round of Poundland conversions will be announced in due course, as will news from PwC about the other deals it has struck for the Wilko name to live on.
You may remember that administrators had previously struck a deal for fellow discount chain B&M to buy 51 other Wilko stores, while another high street chain, The Range, had also confirmed a last-minute deal to buy Wilko’s brand last month.
The Range has bought Wilko’s website and intellectual property, so shoppers can expect to see Wilko own-brand items appear in The Range stores nationwide very soon.
Featured Image – Poundland
Iconic Sycamore Gap tree renamed ‘Sycamore Stump’ after heartbreaking vandalism
Someone has already changed the name of the iconic Sycamore Gap tree to ‘Sycamore Stump’ after it was felled in what’s believed to be an act of vandalism.
The famous tree was believed to be about 300 years old and was made famous when it appeared in the 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.
It’s one of the most photographed trees in the world (Rockefeller’s Christmas tree might just edge that one) and has stood on Hadrian’s Wall for centuries.
But overnight on Wednesday, this world-famous tree was felled, leaving just a small stump behind.
Someone has already changed its name on Google Maps from Sycamore Gap to Sycamore Stump, echoing the public outcry over the tree’s disappearance.
The National Trust said on Thursday: “We are shocked and desperately saddened to learn that the famous Sycamore Gap tree at Hadrian’s Wall has been felled overnight, in what appears to be an act of vandalism.
“We know just how much this iconic tree is loved locally, nationally and by everyone who has visited.
“We are working with our partners to understand what has happened and what can be done. The incident has also been reported to the police.”
Police have now confirmed that a 16-year-old boy has been arrested on suspicion of causing criminal damage.
Supt Kevin Waring of Northumbria police said: “This is a world-renowned landmark and the events of today have caused significant shock, sadness and anger throughout the local community and beyond.
“An investigation was immediately launched following this vandalism, and this afternoon we have arrested one suspect in connection with our inquiries.
“Given our investigation remains at a very early stage, we are keeping an open mind. I am appealing to the public for information to assist us – if you have seen or heard anything suspicious that may be of interest to us, please let us know.”