Back in the day, if you drank two glasses of milk a day , you would grow up to play for Accrington Stanley (according to Ian Rush). Zoom forwards 40 years, and we now know that cows milk is only good for one thing… baby cows.
With so many plant based varieties on the market, and more and more science around the detrimental health impacts of drinking animal milk readily available, it’s no wonder the diary industry is clinging to all it can to stay afloat. However, the news breaking on Monday 10th January 2022 isn’t some fad, nor is it a headline grabber… it’s a genuine attempt to finally stop the unnecessary and inhumane amounts of milk being wasted in the U.K. every year.
Morrisons is to be the first UK supermarket to switch to ‘Best Before’ dates on milk only
From 31 January Morrisons will scrap ‘Use By’ dates on 90 per cent of its own brand milk – and encourage its customers to use a sniff test – to help to reduce food waste in the home. ‘Use By’ dates will be scrapped from Morrisons own brand British and Scottish milks, Morrisons For Farmers milks and Morrisons organic milks in store – supplied into Morrisons by Arla farmers.
Morrisons anticipates the move will stop millions of pints of milk from being thrown away. Every year, milk is the third most wasted food and drink product in the UK, after potatoes and bread. Milk has the largest carbon footprint of these food and drink products because its production is so resource intensive. One litre of milk can account for up to 4.5kg of CO2.
WRAP estimates that – of the 490 million pints of milk wasted in the UK every year – 85 million pints may be a result of customers sticking to ’Use By’ labels or ‘once opened use within’ guidance – when products may still be good to consume.
So obviously my jaw dropped to the floor. Having dealt with surplus food for over 8 years, I’ve seen my fair share of milk waste, and the official figures above are very conservative. But, instead of jumping for joy and grabbing a glass of (soya) milk to celebrate, it opened up a lot of questions for me.
Firstly, why has this taken so long to implement? Does this also apply to other dairy products wrongly labelled with Use By instead of Best Before; cheese, yoghurts etc.?
Will other retailers follow suit, and if not, why not?
And in Vegan-uary of all months! From a vegan perspective, to know that animals are not being used for their protein in vain, is somewhat comforting (albeit, we have a very long way to go!). I know lots of people that turned to plant based diets due to unnecessary waste alone in the dairy and meat industry, so this will come as good news to those that don’t partake in the consumption of such produce.
I’m happy this is Morrisons doing this. I’ve always had a strong relationship with the retailer and Surplus To Purpose will continue to do so for many years to come. It’s also a Bradford based business, only a stones throw from where my last home was located. Morrisons have always tried to do the right thing, and have not shouted out about it enough. They should definitely shout out about this, it’s a game changer…I raise my glass to them.