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Major food retailer to sell food past ‘best before’ date in a bid to reduce food waste

The East of England Co-op announced a new initiative which will see it selling food which has passed its ‘best before’ date.

The retailer will begin selling produce at a nominal £10p per item once it has reached its ‘best before’ date. This will apply to tinned and dried food and not to fresh or perishable food with a use by date.

The East of England Co-op, which is the largest independent retailer in Anglia, hopes that the move will save two tonnes of food being wasted each year. The launch follows a three month trial within 14 stores.

Roger Grosvenor, the company’s joint chief executive and head of its retail division said:

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

“The vast majority of our customers understand they are fine to eat and appreciate the opportunity to make a significant saving on some of their favourite products.

“By selling perfectly edible food we can save 50,000-plus items every year which would otherwise have gone to waste.”

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) advises that products past their ‘best before’ date are safe to consume, but may not be at the optimum quality intended by the producer.

The retailer intends to sell the products for up to a month after the advised ‘best before’ date.

According to reports from the BBC other retailers including Waitrose, Tesco and Iceland have no plans to introduce a similar scheme at this time.

The FSA state that the UK throws away 7.3 millions tonnes of wasted food each year.

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