East of England Co-op selling out of date food at discount prices to help the environment

PUBLISHED: 07:47 04 December 2017 | UPDATED: 16:01 04 December 2017

An East of England Co-op supermarket on Norwich Road, Acle. Picture: James Bass Photography

An East of England Co-op supermarket on Norwich Road, Acle. Picture: James Bass Photography


Shoppers at dozens of East of England Co-op stores will be able to buy food past its best before date to help reduce waste.

The supermarket chain, which has 125 branches and is East Anglia’s biggest independent retailer, is the first major retailer to launch such a movement.

The “perfectly edible” items are on sale for 10p as part of a campaign by the chain to reduce its environmental impact.

Tinned goods, packets and dried food which carry best before dates, rather than use by dates, will be included in the scheme.

The 10p reduced products will not include use by dated goods, which should not be eaten beyond these dates.

According to the Food Standards Agency (FSA), the best before date is about quality, not safety, and food is safe to eat after this time but may be past its prime.

Roger Grosvenor, joint chief executive of East of England Co-op, said: “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.”

It is estimated the UK throws away 7 million tonnes of food every year, the majority of which could have been eaten, according to the FSA.

The new campaign to sell the discounted products, entitled the Co-op Guide to Dating, follows a three-month trial at 14 of its stores.

“During our trial we found our 10p items went within hours of being reduced, sometimes quicker,” Mr Grosvenor added.

Ratula Chakraborty, a retail expert and senior lecturer in business management at the Norwich Business School at the University of East Anglia, said: “Strictly following best before and use by makes sense for meat and fish products but for the myriad of tinned and packaged dry goods, it is a sensible move to relax the obsession with best before.

“The whole concept of best before is a creation of overzealous regulation resulting in producers and retailers being unduly cautious in labelling their products with the result that perfectly good and edible food is wasted and thrown away uneaten. Hopefully other retailers will follow the Co-op’s lead and in the process support thrifty shopping and reducing food waste.”

Other News

40 minutes ago

Several homes at Hemsby are on the brink of collapsing over a cliff edge - as these pictures reveal.

The Hemsby community has been praised for its efforts to support those affected by this weekend’s coastal erosion.

A group of Hemsby residents are breathing a sigh relief this morning after their homes survived a devastating onslaught from fierce waves and high winds.

Fears have again been raised about animal safety at a Norfolk beach after a dog was left in a critical condition from eating palm oil which had washed ashore.

Most Read

Several homes are in imminent danger of collapsing into the sea after wind and waves dismantled part of the Norfolk coastline.

Read more
Thu, 15:30

Perilously close to the cliff edge this home in Hemsby could be one storm away from oblivion.

Read more
Thu, 06:31

It is the coldest week in February for five years and Norfolk’s otherwise popular campsites should be empty.

Read more
Great Yarmouth Borough Council
Yesterday, 12:41

Emergency services are currently trying to evacuate homes in a coastal village.

Read more
Norfolk police
Yesterday, 11:02

A major refurbishment project will see a pub in Great Yarmouth transformed into an American style smokehouse bar and grill.

Read more

Local Weather



max temp: 1°C

min temp: 0°C

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the Great
Yarmouth Mercury

e-edition today


Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter