Supermarket chain fights against waste by selling food after best before

An English grocery chain says it is now selling products up to a month past their

An English grocery chain says it is now selling products up to a month past their"Best By dates in an effort to reduce food waste

East of England's Co-op has become the first major retailer to sell food beyond its "best before" dates in a bid to crack down on food waste.

East of England Co-op, which is independent of the Co-operative Group, will sell tinned goods and dried food such as pasta, crisps and rice for 10p once they reach their best before date.

Despite concerted efforts to reduce food waste through the entire supply chain, the government's waste advisory body, Wrap, says £13bn-worth of edible food is thrown out in Britain every year.

The problem is being tackled by start-up companies such as surplus banana snack bar Snact and ChicP, which turns unwanted crops into hummus products who have made it their mission to help reduce the amount of food going to waste.

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Its joint chief executive Roger Grosvenor said a three-month trial in 14 stores had been successful, with 10p items selling out within hours of being reduced.

"We are trying to reduce our waste and keep as much food in the food chain as possible", East of England Co-Op said on its website. "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".

Last week, WRAP published new guidance for food labelling emphasising that "Use By" dates should only be used on foods that carry a risk of becoming unsafe in a short period of time and that all others should only carry "Best Before" dates as foods can be safely redistributed and consumed after the date. That's only one of several mind blowing facts about food waste in America.

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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.

Most food items beyond their best before will be able to be sold, but products with "use by" dates will not be included as they should not be eaten after the dates indicated.

The campaign will also see the retailer instigating a new "Reduced to Clear" policy that offers "more significant discounts earlier in the day" on products nearing their "Use By" date.

Instead, the East of England Co-op collects donations of non-perishable food and toiletries within date in all its stores. But according to food safety experts, most spoiled foods, though unpalatable, aren't particularly hazardous. "As such it is perfectly safe to sell food at or after its "best before" date," a spokesperson stated.

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It said: 'We estimate that technical changes to packaging and labelling could help cut around 350,000 tonnes of household food waste a year by 2025, saving shoppers around £1 billion a year in wasted food'.

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