- a blog about food and value

Solved! The mystery of Lidl and Aldi’s best before dates

On the whole, Lidl and Aldi have great value fruit and veg. Lidl especially carries the more unusual produce like celeriac and fennel.

However, it used to bug me when I’d take home a punnet of cherry tomatoes to find the bottom layer all fusty or I”d discover that a courgette was rotting when I took off the packaging. As I couldn’t see any use-by dates I thought it was a game of chance where you dig, Mammy style, into the crate below and cross your fingers that you’ve got something fresh.

I’ve finally cracked the code though. The dates are in a day and week format on the front of packaged fruit and veg. So, in the photo above, the passion fruit are week 35, day 3; the tomatoes are the 2nd day of week 34 and the pak choi is the 4th of week 35. So in future, just make sure you get the highest day and week on the code to avoid leaking peppers and tomatoes you’d throw at the stocks.


  1. best before dates on fruits and vegs? I never got it. Seriously, fruits and vegs are past their best when they start to wrinkle, go soft, loose their shine. Fruits and vegs should be smelled, touched. Which is why I find it hard to buy in plastic packaging (and also because it grates me that fruits and vegs are sold in a plastic tray, wrapped into more plastic). Why not buy loose from the greengrocer or even better, the ladies on Moore street or Camden street?

    I sometimes buy the Aldi special 6, but usually the demand is very high so fruits and vegs don’t even have a chance to wilten

  2. Great! Thanks to you I finally got it 🙂

  3. Thanks so much for sharing this very useful bit on info….I love Aldi but this does really frustrate me….problem solved. Fair play!

  4. Very cool, thanks for that post, i retweeted it

  5. Hey Nanazolie, that’s a fair point indeed but we can’t assume that everyone lives near Dublin, or even a reasonable greengrocer. Our local one shut down a couple of years ago a potato in the weekly farmer’s market costs as much as a pair of shoes. It would be great to have the equivalent of continental markets nationwide but I think the bulk of most Irish households’ fruit and veg is bought in budget supermarkets. Maybe I’m wrong.

  6. Julie, you’re right. I’m very lucky that I have 2 greengrocers nearby, one selling local fruits and vegs. But I still think best before dates on fruits and vegs are a bit extreme. It would be great if Aldi, Lidl, Tesco and the likes could sell more loose fresh products. It would cut down on costs too.

  7. They’re actually Display Until dates (hence the DU beside them), so they’re for stock control use. Still handy enough to know which are the freshest – it can often be the case that items look the same, but one is a week older, and so it will last for less time at home.

  8. Good work! I’ll let my mum know – she always thought it was pot luck too and would get annoyed at not knowing the dates

  9. its actually a packing date, the week and day they were packed. if your buying a Spanish product you should always allow 3 days for travelling by temperature controlled truck, no air travel for any fruit and veg at lidl as it is good for our carbon footprint, if it is exotic you have to allow at least 3 Weeks for travel by boat. some things have a really far date which is due to products being kept in temperature controlled storage in distant countries. best before dates are only used on short life products, ie berries and salad lines but not every product on that field.
    what is more interesting and not as well known is lidl’s dating policy on all edible ambient chilled and frozen products, its called a t-date and is displayed on the ticket, all fresh poultry and mince for example, is t-2,which gives the customer 2 days at home with the product before it is past its best before date.
    from someone who knows.