Southern Co-op to sell more food past ‘best before’ date

Southern Co-op has revealed its plans to sell more food that has gone past its ‘best before’ date, stating that many products are still ‘good enough to eat’ once the date has passed.

The move is being made by almost 100 convenience stores across the south of England on the basis that the date given relates to the quality, not the safety of the product.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) advises that a product past its ‘best before’ date is “safe to eat after this date, but may not be at its best”.

The Southern Co-op’s ‘Reducing Our Foodprint’ initiative aims to keep more food in the human food chain, with many products being sold for just 20p. Fresh products will be sold up to two days after their ‘best before’ date, while ambient products will still be for sales up to seven days later.

Read more: Southern Co-op opens 29 soft plastic recycling points

“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,” commented chief operating officer for retail, Simon Eastwood.

“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 and keep them in the food chain and improve sustainability.”

Southern Co-op is currently working towards a long-term strategy as it aims to meet ambitious science-based targets to cut direct and indirect carbon emissions from the business by 2030.

This is supported by a climate action pathway of planned activity and an initial investment of £5.8m.

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