East of England Co-operative to sell fresh food beyond Best Before date

The move extends the scheme launched last year to sell tinned goods, packets and dried food

The East of England Co-operative will be selling fresh food products after the ‘best before’ date.

In December last year the society, which runs 125 food stores in East Anglia, announced it was going to sell products beyond their ‘best before’ date for a nominal 10p. The initiative, part of the “The Co-op Guide to Dating” scheme to tackle food waste, saw items including tinned goods, packets and dried food go on sale for a month beyond the best before date.

Now the scheme has been extended to sell fruit, vegetables and bread for two days after their best before date. Cake is also due to be sold for seven days past its best before date.

The discounted food cannot be donated to charities such as food banks, which do not accept food after best before date has passed. According to the Food Standards Agency (FSA), products past their ‘best before’ date are safe to consume but may not be at the optimum quality intended by the producer.

Products should not be consumed after the use by date has passed and the retailer will not be selling them.

Roger Grosvenor, joint chief executive at East of England, said: “Following the success of our ground-breaking initiative to sell food past its best before date, which will save at least 150,000 items from going to landfill, we have now expanded the scheme to include fresh produce.

“We are continually exploring ways we can further reduce food waste and are currently investigating the feasibility of including frozen products in the scheme.”

The society estimates the initiative will save at least two metric tonnes from being wasted every year.

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