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Co-op becomes first supermarket to sell food past its 'best before' date in bid to tackle waste

Authorities estimate the UK throws away 7 million tonnes of food every year, the majority of which could have been eaten

Ellie Cullen
Monday 04 December 2017 09:02 GMT
The Co-op is moving to slash food waste
The Co-op is moving to slash food waste (The East of England Co-operative)

A supermarket chain is to sell food that is past its “best before” date for just 10p in a bid to cut down on food waste.

Shoppers at the 125 East of England Co-op stores in East Anglia will be able to pick up the “perfectly edible” items from Monday as part of a campaign by the chain to reduce its impact on the environment.

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

According to the Food Standards Agency, the “best before” date is about quality, not safety, and food is safe to eat after this date but may be past its prime.

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

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.

“By selling perfectly edible food we can save 50,000 plus items every year that would otherwise have gone to waste.

“The vast majority of customers understand they are fine to eat.”

The Food Standards Agency estimates the UK throws away 7 million tonnes of food every year, the majority of which could have been eaten.

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. Have it for dinner!”

It comes as another supermarket chain also revealed its plans to make use of surplus food stock.

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

The statement, which has since been verified as legitimate by the company’s Twitter account, says an estimated 20 to 30 crates of leftover food from each of its stores will be free to good causes and those in need from 4pm on December 24.

Charities and local organisations are being urged to contact Aldi’s head office to arrange collection of the excess stock.


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