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Co-op becomes first retailer to sell produce past 'Best Before' date

Author: FarmingUK Published: 7th December 2017 10:21

 Co-op sign

Co-op becomes first retailer to sell produce past 'Best Before' date

The East of England Co-op, including Ely, has become the first major retailer to start selling products beyond their ‘Best Before' date with the aim of significantly reducing food waste in its stores.

The biggest independent retailer in East Anglia will now sell products over their Best Before date in its 125 food stores for a nominal 10p.

The move follows a successful three month trial in 14 of the Co-op's stores and will be launched with new campaign, "The Co-op Guide to Dating".

The East of England Co-op anticipates the initiative has the potential to save at least two metric tonnes from being wasted every year.

Shoppers will be told ‘Don't be a binner, have it for dinner!' and ‘It's not nice to get dumped' in an effort to encourage participation.

It is estimated that every year between 30 - 50% of food produced globally for human consumption is wasted. Resource efficiency experts WRAP estimates that £13bn worth of edible food is wasted in Britain every year - the majority of which is thrown away needlessly.

The UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has also called for a renewed global commitment for zero tolerance on food loss and waste. It said the loss and waste occurs throughout the supply chain, from farm to fork.

Roger Grosvenor, Joint Chief Executive at the East of England Co-op heads up the company's retail division and has spear-headed the initiative.

He commented: "We are committed to reducing waste in our business and The Co-op Guide to Dating is one of many initiatives we have instigated to make the East of England Co-op as efficient as possible, reducing our impact on the environment."

'Fine to eat'

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) advises that products past their Best Before date are safe to consume but may not be at the optimum quality intended by the producer. The heavily reduced products will remain 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.

"The vast majority of our customers understand they are fine to eat and appreciate the opportunity to make a significant saving on some of their favourite products.

"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 which would otherwise have gone to waste."

The majority of products that use Best Before dates will be included, such as tinned goods, packets and dried food. The 10p reduced products will not include ‘Use By' dated products, which should not be consumed after the Use By date has passed.

Sales data is now more closely reviewed to monitor waste levels in each store, to enable the Co-op to remove or reduce product lines which generate excessive waste.








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