British supermarket Co-op will become the first major retailer to start selling food products beyond its best before dates in a bid to cut food waste.
The East of England Co-op will start selling the products, including a large range of items including tinned goods, such as fruit and beans, dried food such as pasta and rice and packet goods including crisps, confectionery and cereal, across 125 stores.
Food waste has become a major issue with the government estimating that around £16 billion worth of produce – equivalent to £700 for every UK household – is thrown away each 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.
The scheme does not include any products with a ‘Use By’ date, including meat, fish and dairy.
Co-op decided to launch the initiative following a successful three-month trial in 14 of its branches, where 10p items were sold out very quickly. Now it aims to help reduce the situation by offering it in many more stores.
Roger Grosvenor, joint chief executive of East of England Co-op, explained that 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.
“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.”
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019