A supermarket chain has become the first big retailer to sell food that is past its “best before” date to cut down on food waste.
From now on, shoppers at the Co-op’s 125 East of England stores will be able to buy a range of tinned goods such as beans and fruit as well as dried food such as pasta and rice for 10p.
The move forms part of the chain’s The Co-op Guide to Dating, and runs with the slogan: “Don’t be a binner. Have it for dinner!”
Image: Co-op wants to cut down on food waste
Best before dates are about quality – not safety – and food is safe to eat after this date but may be past its prime, according to the Food Standards Agency.
It estimates the UK throws away seven million tons of food each year, the majority of which could have been eaten.
Roger Grosvenor, joint chief executive of East of England Co-op, said customers appreciated the opportunity to save money.
He told The Grocer magazine that items were flying off the shelves within an hour of them being reduced during the scheme’s trial period.
Image: Aldi will redistribute leftover food to those in need on Christmas Eve
“This is not a money-making exercise, but a sensible move to reduce food waste and keep edible food in the food chain,” Mr Grosvenor added.
“By selling perfectly edible food we can save 50,000 plus items every year that would otherwise have gone to waste.
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“The vast majority of customers understand they are fine to eat.”
In addition, budget supermarket Aldi has urged charities and other local organisations to get in touch because it wants to give away its leftover food – an estimated 20 to 30 crates – from each of its stores from 4pm on Christmas Eve.