Co-op stores to sell food past its 'best before' date for 10p

Co-op stores to sell food past its 'best before' date for 10p

It says it's the first major retailer to start selling food beyond its "best before" date, although there are some online retailers, such as Approved Food, which operate in this space already.

East of England Co-op's joint chief executive Roger Grosvenor told the Grocer that the campaign would help customers save money and reduce the retailer's environmental impact.

The Food Standards Agency estimates the United Kingdom throws away 7 million tonnes of food every year, the majority of which could have been eaten. An in-store campaign will accompany the reductions and urge shoppers "Don't be a binner, have it for dinner!' and 'It's not nice to get dumped".

According to the Food Standards Agency, the United Kingdom throws away 7.3 million tonnes of food every year.

The Food Standards Agency advises that products past their best-before date are safe to eat but may not be at the optimum quality intended by the producer.

The retailer planned to retain heavily-discounted products on sale for one month past their "Best Before" date. "During our trial we found our 10p items went within hours of being reduced, sometimes quicker", said Mr Grosvenor.

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Tinned goods and dried food which carry "best before" dates, rather than "use by" dates, will be included in the scheme.

"I encourage all food businesses, large and small, to use this guidance to help them put the right date mark on food and help to guide people on the refrigeration and freezing of products which are crucial to reducing the amount of edible food thrown away". "The majority of customers understand they are fine to eat".

He added: "This is not a money-making exercise, but a sensible move to reduce food waste and keep edible food in the food chain".

WRAP estimates that £13bn worth of edible food is thrown out in Britain every year - the majority of which is discarded needlessly.

The news is the latest in a string of green measures introduced by the Co-op, which also includes earlier discounts on food nearing its use by date, sourcing local produce to reduce carbon footprint, and recycling facilities to manage waste.

The food was previously sent to landfill sites or for incineration because food banks and other charities tend not to take items past their "best before" date. Instead, the East of England Co-op collects donations of non-perishable food and toiletries within date in all its stores. It is estimated that every year between 30 - 50% of food produced globally for human consumption is wasted.

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