Shoppers Seeking ‘Best-Before Date’ Bargains
By Bernice Hurst, Contributing
It looks as if many consumers are making
their money go further by making their food go further — further from
their best-before dates, that is. Stories in The Guardian and The
the ways in which websites are selling food at prices well below supermarkets
on the basis that it has gone beyond its peak of perfection while still
remaining perfectly edible.
It is now widely recognized that best-before
and sell-by dates are primarily for retailers’ information. Only use-by
reflects safety. Even official government advice confirms that food beyond
its best-before date will be safe to eat when stored correctly, although
anything beyond its use-by date should not be eaten.
Business is so good for bargain websites
that approvedfood.co.uk says its year on year sales for the last week of
December increased by 500 percent. Approvedfood and foodbargains.co.uk
have posted apologies because high demand is causing backlogs and extended
Both sites offer "clearance, short-dated
and out-of-date food and drink" as a way to cut costs and reduce waste.
The Guardian points to campaigners’ approval of the trend on the
basis that "it can help to reduce Britain’s huge mountain of food waste."
According to The Independent, government
figures show that 370,000 tonnes of food is thrown away each year in the
UK after passing its "best-before" date, as well as 220,000 tonnes that
is close to, but still within, its "use by" date.
Products range from canned foods such as
tuna to packs of soup, toilet paper and pet food with brand names such
as Heinz, McVities, Baxters, Nescafe and Cadbury.
While chocolate bars, chips and fizzy drinks
proliferate, Approvedfood also has a healthy eating range comprising of
crispbread, sushi nori roasted seaweed, canned celeria strips and cold-pressed
extra virgin olive oil amongst other less run of the mill items.
Approvedfood’s founder, Dan Cluderay, assures
customers that "We never sell anything past its ‘use-by’ date … but the
‘best-before’ date simply refers to the product’s optimum quality. Products
past this date are still perfectly fine to consume and it’s very unusual for
anyone to be able to tell the difference." He also claims that customers saved
an average of 75 percent on recommended retail prices.
Do websites selling food past its best-before date have an attraction
for bargain-hunting Americans? Do such sites present a threat to retailers?
- Frugal shoppers fuel boom in out-of-date
grocery trade – The Guardian
- Is it time to chuck out sell-by dates?
– The Independent