East Of England Co-op Sells Food After ‘Best Before’ Dates To Cut Food Waste

East of England Co-op will sell goods beyond its “best before” dates for 10p in a plan to cut food waste.

The chain’s 125 stores in East Anglia will become the first major retailer to do so in a move that WRAP, the waste and recycling advisory board, has said complies with food safety standards.

The 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. The items will remain on sale for one month past their Best Before date.

The offer will not apply to perishable foods, which carry a “use by” date indicating when a product is safe to eat.

According to the Food Standards Agency, the UK throws away 7.3 million tonnes of food every year. The agency says best before dates are about food quality, not safety.

The reduced price move forms part of The Co-op Guide to Dating, and runs with the slogan: “Don’t be a binner. Have it for dinner!”

The initiative has been welcomed online where shoppers called on other retailers to follow Co-Op’s lead.

Excellent idea: East of England Co-op becomes first major retailer to sell food past ‘best before’ date in new waste cutting scheme https://t.co/KFrO6sEMz8

December 4, 2017
Shoppers at dozens of East of England Co-op stores will be able to buy food past its best before date to help the environment. https://t.co/7HEW4lXjWM

December 4, 2017
Congratulations to the East of England Co-op for being trailblazers in selling for 10p some items beyond ‘The Best Buy’ date.
“Don’t be a Binner, have it for dinner” – East of England Co-op becomes first major retailer to sell food beyond its “best before” dates in bid to cut waste. https://t.co/49oPXS5QGZ

December 4, 2017
It’s about time, the thought of the wastage these supermarkets produces horrifies me. Leave packaging off too there is no need for most of it.
Three cheers to @EoECoop for this initiative. Who else is brave enough to follow? ?? https://t.co/5LSiPdjgF7
Roger Grosvenor, East of England Co-op’s joint chief executive, said the 10p items were sold within hours of being reduced.

“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,” he told the BBC.

Co-Op are yet to respond to a request for comment from HuffPost UK.

Grosvenor added to the broadcaster that the initiative was not about making money, “but a sensible move to reduce food waste and keep edible food in the food chain”.

The retailer estimates the initiative will stop at least 50,000 items a year being thrown away.

The Co-op has also instigated a Reduced to Clear policy, offering more significant discounts earlier in the day on products nearing their Use By dates.

Aldi, meanwhile, has urged charities and other local organisations to get in touch because it wants to give away its leftover food – an estimated 20 to 30 crates – from each of its stores from 4pm on Christmas Eve.