Food Waste: East of England Co-Op Becomes First UK Supermarket to Sell Food After ‘Best Before’ Date

World | Waste Management

Photo-illustration: Pixabay

A group of Co-Op stores will become the first UK supermarket to sell food past its ‘Best Before’ dates in a drive to cut food waste.

Shoppers at East of England Co-Op stores in East Anglia will be able to buy tinned goods and dried food for as little as 10p, as part of a campaign to encourage people to waste less food.

The initiative will be rolled out across 125 stores under the slogan “Don’t be a binner, have it for dinner!”

The East of England Co-Op operates as a separate business from the Co-Operative Group.

“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. “We have decided to start selling food past the Best Before date to help reduce the levels of waste that our stores have.”

Products can be legally sold after their Best Before dates, which are quality dates given by the manufacturer. In contrast, ‘Use By’ dates govern the life of products with a limited shelf life, such as dairy and meat, and cannot be sold after their expiration date for safety reasons.

Confusion over the meaning of the two dates is a major factor in the UK’s level of food waste, according to waste advisory body WRAP, which estimates that two million tonnes of food is wasted each year in UK homes purely because it is not being used in time.

Late last month WRAP unveiled new guidance on food labelling to help cut food waste. The new guidance recommends that firms make greater use of simple labels alongside text, such as a ‘fridge’ or ‘freezer’ icons to encourage people to store their food correctly.