reducing our footprint

Southern Co-op will be selling products past their ‘best before’ date, saying the date relates to the quality, rather than the safety, of the product.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) advises that products past these dates are safe to consume but may not be at the optimum quality intended by the producer.

It is hoped that by doing so more food will be kept in the human food chain and so less waste will be produced.

Part of Southern Co-op’s ‘reducing our footprint’ initiative, over 100 stores will be taking part, with products reduced to just 20p.

The Co-operative Food stores which are included in the Reducing our Foodprint initiative are based across Berkshire, Devon, Dorset, East Sussex, West Sussex, Hampshire, Kent, Somerset, Surrey and Wiltshire.

Fresh products will be sold up to two days after their ‘best before’ date and ambient products will be sold up to seven days after their ‘best before’ date.

Examples of products included in the reduction initiative 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.

Chief operating officer for retail Simon Eastwood 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 and keep them in the food chain and improve sustainability.”

The trial took place between April and September last year in 13 stores and proved successful, with 16,862 items processed at the 20p price point in 11 of these stores and many items being sold within a day of being reduced.