Co-op slashes foods past best-before date to 10p

Co-op slashes foods past best-before date to 10p

British supermarket the Co-operative will become the first major retailer to start selling food products beyond its best before dates in a bid to cut food waste.

Tinned food, packets of crisps, boxes of cereal and dried food such as pasta and rice are being sold at a flat rate of 10p in 125 Co-op stores in East Anglia.

Confusion over the meaning of the two dates is a major factor in the UK's level of food waste, according to waste advisory body WRAP, which estimates that two million tonnes of food is wasted each year in United Kingdom homes purely because it is not being used in time.

The FSA said products past their best before date were safe to consume but may not be at the optimum quality intended by the producer.

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.

Roger Grosvenor, Joint Chief Executive at the East of England Co-op said: "During our trial we found our 10p items went within hours of being reduced, sometimes quicker".

Grosvenor added to the broadcaster that the initiative was not about making money, "but a sensible move to reduce food waste and keep edible food in the food chain". "By selling perfectly edible food we can save 50,000-plus items every year which would otherwise have gone to waste". "The majority of customers understand they are fine to eat".

The company says it can't donate such items to food banks because they don't accept food after its "Best By" date has passed.

The East of England Co-op anticipates the initiative has the potential to save at least two metric tonnes from being wasted every year.

The move joins other global efforts to reduce food waste as a result of labels that give consumers the impression that foods shouldn't be eaten after their "best by" or "sell by" dates.

It also introduced a new blue fridge icon for foods which should be kept chilled or benefit from being kept in the fridge at a temperature of below five degrees.

In a post circulating on social media, budget supermarket Aldi said it wanted to redistribute its excess food products on Christmas Eve to those in the most need.

"While "use by" date labels indicate when a product is safe to eat, "best before" date labels only refer to when food is at its best".