11th December 2017

Buy after the best-before date at the Co-op

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The Co-op has begun selling food past its best-before date in an attempt to cut waste.

The scheme has been launched at 125 Co-op stores in eastern England, with the independent retailer estimating that it will save at least 50,000 products a year from ending up the bin.

Customers will be able to buy tinned goods and dried foods from 10p. These items use best-before date labelling, which refers to quality rather than safety.

The initiative follows a three-month trial in 14 Co-op stores which reportedly saw the 10p products fly off the shelves within hours and was hailed a success.

Roger Grosvenor, East of England Co-op’s joint chief executive, told the Grocer: “This is not a money-making exercise, but a sensible move to reduce food waste and keep edible food in the food chain.

“The vast majority of our customers understand they are fine to eat and appreciate the opportunity to make a significant saving.”

Current statistics reveal the UK throws away 7.3 million tonnes of food every year, according to the Food Standards Agency.

The price drops will run alongside an in-store campaign that urges customers ‘don’t be a binner, have it for dinner’. East of England Co-op has also launched a new ‘reduced to clear’ policy which will increase the amount of discounts for products nearing their use-by dates.

The announcement swiftly follows a move from waste and recycling advisory body Wrap which has established a new date label guidance for food manufacturers and retailers to help tackle the amount of edible food discarded in UK homes.

Wrap said the Co-op’s “bold” move complied with food safety standards.

Meanwhile, fellow retailer Aldi has confirmed it will donate surplus food to local charities and food banks on Christmas Eve. A statement circulating on social media says that an estimated 20 to 30 crates of leftover food from each of Aldi’s stores will be free from 4pm on December 24.