The aim is to keep more food in the human food chain, as the best before date relates to quality, not the safety of the product.
The Reducing Our Foodprint initiative, with products being reduced to just 20p, was introduced by Southern Co-op last year in 13 stores elsewhere and the scheme is now being expanded to Sussex.
It means food past its best before date can now be bought at a special price at more than 100 Co-operative Food stores across the south of England.
All store waste is currently diverted from landfill, with food broken down to produce biogas and bio-fertiliser, and this will reduce the amount sent off for this anaerobic digestion process.
Simon Eastwood, chief operating officer for retail at Southern Co-op, said: “Customer feedback from the trials of this scheme has been largely positive with many of the products being snapped up as soon as they get reduced.
“There are a large number of products that are still good enough to eat past their best before date - many of us are already familiar with this in our home environment so this just takes it one step further.
“The first stage in the fight against food waste is to make sure there aren’t products reaching their best before date. But if they do, we will now be reducing them to 20p to try to keep them in the food chain and improve sustainability.”
The initial trial took place in Bath, Blandford, Bradford-On-Avon, Frome, Clanfield, Portsmouth, Lambourn, Mere, Old Sarum, Shaftesbury, Shrewton, Sturminster and Yeovil. This proved a success, with the majority of products being sold within a day of being reduced.
Between April and September 2021, there were 16,862 items processed at the 20p price point across 11 of the 13 stores.
These are the stores in East Sussex which are now included in the Reducing our Foodprint initiative:
Bramber House, Brighton; Eastbourne’s Beatty Road, Lindfield Road and Seaside; Hove’s Old Shoreham Road, Portland Road and Western Road; Portslade’s Abinger Road; St Leonards’ 100 Battle Road and 290 Battle Road; and Wadhurst’s Sparrows Green Road.
These are the stores in West Sussex which are now included in the Reducing our Foodprint initiative:
Angmering’s The Square; Bognor Regis’s Hawthorn Road and Rose Green Road; Bosham’s Delling Lane; Burgess Hill’s Junction Road and London Road; Chichester’s Bognor Road, Lavant Road, Oliver Whitby Road, Spitalfield Lane and Stockbridge Road; East Wittering’s Cakeham Road; Ferring’s Ferring Street; Haywards Heath’s Franklynn Road; Horsham’s Guildford Road; Selsey’s High Street; and Yapton’s Main Road.
Fresh products will be sold up to two days after the best before date and ambient products will be sold up to seven days after the best before date.
Examples of products include tinned fruit and veg, dried pasta and rice, confectionery, selected condiments, sugar and sweeteners, coffee, tea and jams as well as chilled products such as soft fruit and fruit juices.
The Food Standards Agency advises that products past their best before date are safe to consume but may not be at the optimum quality intended by the producer.
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