Co-op sells food past best-before date to curb waste

Shoppers at 125 Co Op supermarkets will be able to pick up food past its “best before” date for 10p

Shoppers at 125 Co Op supermarkets will be able to pick up food past its “best before” date for 10p

The East Anglian retailer will sell ambient food products beyond their "Best Before" date in its 125 food stores for the nominal price of 10p.

The majority of products that now use best-before dates will be included, say the retailer, such as tinned goods, packets and dried food, with it estimating the initiative will save two tonnes of food from being wasted from its stores every year.

"[In the U.S.] expiration dates on food are not required by any federal law, although some states require such dates on meat or milk".

Roger Grosvenor, joint chief executive of East of England Co-op, told trade magazine The Grocer customers would be keen to save money, with numerous 10p items flying off the shelves within an hour of them being reduced during the scheme's trial period.

Joint chief executive at the East of England Co-op, Roger Grosvenor, said: 'We are committed to reducing waste in our business.

The retailer said it expects the move will result in at least 50,000 items not being thrown away every year and could see some of its rivals follow suit.

He added: "The vast majority of our customers understand they are fine to eat and appreciate the opportunity to make a significant saving". As a food product passes its "expiration" date, it may get stale, and some products, like milk, may go sour.

The East of England Co-op has now also instigated a new Reduced to Clear policy, offering more significant discounts earlier in the day on products nearing their "use by" dates to further help reduce waste.

The East of England Co-op's campaign, entitled The Co-op Guide To Dating, will run with the slogan: 'Don't be a binner.

Although the food will be sold past its best before date, it will be within its safe to use date meaning it is still edible.

The best way to store perishable foods is in the original pack in a fridge where the temperature is kept below 5°C.

Despite concerted efforts to reduce food waste through the entire supply chain, the government's waste advisory body, Wrap, says £13bn-worth of edible food is thrown out in Britain every year.

Products can be legally sold after their Best Before dates, which are quality dates given by the manufacturer.

It said: 'We estimate that technical changes to packaging and labelling could help cut around 350,000 tonnes of household food waste a year by 2025, saving shoppers around £1 billion a year in wasted food'.

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