GB: M&S scraps ‘best before’ dates from fresh food labels – Which foods do Britons buy the most?
August 17th, 2022, Lesley Simeon

GB: M&S scraps ‘best before’ dates from fresh food labels – Which foods do Britons buy the most?

In an effort to eliminate food waste, Marks & Spencer (M&S) has gotten rid of its “best before” dates on labels of over 300 of its fruit and vegetable products. The labels will now feature a new code that can be scanned by store staff to check for product freshness and quality.

With this change applying to 85% of all Marks & Spencer produce offering such as apples, potatoes and broccoli, what do the supermarket’s current customers feel about buying fresh produce?

For most M&S regulars, fresh food trumps frozen food. According to YouGov Profiles - which covers demographic, psychographic, attitudinal and behavioral consumer metrics, a significant 60% of them prefer fresh or shelf-stable food over frozen foods. Similarly, 68% of them are of the opinion that fresh food is better than frozen food. A majority of M&S customers (73%) even buy fresh or cooked food from the store to later freeze it at home.

Fresh vegetables and fruits were among the top food items respondents bought last month from the retailer. Most consumers (89%) bought dairy items like milk and butter from supermarkets or grocery stores last month, followed by vegetables and fruits (87% each). Bakery goods and frozen foods rounded off the top five food products respondents purchased this past month.

Given that fresh vegetables and fruits are a common purchase for a majority of M&S’ existing customers, getting rid of “best before” dates from fresh produce labels might help the brand ensure more of its produce find its way into consumers’ shopping bags.

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Methodology: YouGov Profiles is based on continuously collected data and rolling surveys, rather than from a single limited questionnaire. Profiles data for the UK is nationally representative and weighted by age, gender, education, region, and race. Learn more about Profiles.