Nearly 100 more convenience stores across the south of England will be selling selected products past their ‘best before’ date as it relates to quality, not the safety of the product.
With the aim of keeping more food in the human food chain, Southern Co-op has expanded its Reducing Our Foodprint initiative with products being reduced to just 20p.
Now available in more than 100 Co-operative Food stores across the south of England, the waste reduction scheme aims to keep as much produce as possible in the food chain and reduce the amount sent off for anaerobic digestion.
All store waste is currently diverted from landfill with food broken down to produce biogas and bio-fertiliser.
Simon Eastwood, Chief Operating Officer for Retail at Southern Co-op, 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 initial trial of the Reducing our Foodprint initiative took place at 13 stores run by the independent, regional co-operative and proved a success with the majority of products being sold within a day of being reduced.
Between April and September 2021, there were 16,862 items processed at the 20p price point across 11 of the 13 stores.
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.
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.
Southern Co-op is currently working towards ambitious science based targets to cut direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions from the business by 2030, supported by a climate action pathway of planned activity and an initial investment of £5.8m.
To view Southern Co-op’s long term strategy including its commitment to climate change and responsible business, visit www.thesouthernco-operative.co.uk/our-plan/.