Every day thousands of pounds worth of perfectly edible food is thrown out in households all over the country because the sell by date has expired. WRAP.org.uk reported that the average family in the UK throws out approximately £60 worth of food and drink each month – that’s around £720 and 4.2 million tonnes being wasted every single year!
However, a lot of the food that we throw out isn’t necessarily inedible. Rather than trusting the look, smell or sight of food, many of us are taking too much notice of the sell by and best before dates stamped on the packaging. This means we’re wasting food and drink that we could otherwise be eating quite safely, saving money in the process. Sellers such as Approved Food, an online store specialising in the sale of ‘short date foods’, have risen in popularity as more and more people realise that there are great savings to be had by ignoring the date stamps and relying on good old common sense instead.
But is it safe?
Sell by dates on products have no bearing at all on the food’s quality or taste. They are simply there as a guide for stores to stock and sell products before a certain period. The ‘best before’ dates are often a fair time after the sell by date stated, meaning that you can stock up on reduced bargains which are close to their sell by dates safe in the knowledge that you’ll have no ill effects from consuming them.
Best before dates do not mean that foods are unsafe to eat once passed. The quality may decline slightly, but again, they’ll be fine for a reasonable length of time afterwards. Tinned food in particular keep for greatly extended periods past their best before dates.
The only labels to take note of are those with ‘use by’ dates – normally on fresher foods such as eggs or meat products which won’t normally keep. However, you can still work around this by freezing them, meaning that they’ll be preserved for longer without any ill effects at all.
Buying food which has passed its best before or sell by date can result in substantial savings for families – as much as 70% according to Approved Food, who sell de-identified products including toiletries and household items for a fraction of their normal cost. Delivery charges can seem a little steep at £5.25 for the first 25kg of goods or £7.50 for 50kgs, but the savings far offset the cost of it. As there is no guarantee on what surplus stock stores are off-loading, it is well worth signing up to their email updates to receive up-to-the-minute news of their latest bargains and offers.
Fancy seeing how much you can save? Take a look at their current moneysaving deals at www.approvedfood.co.uk.