With food costs soaring, some are turning to extreme methods in order to cut their food bill down – including eating items that are past their best before date.
Jane Macadam, a 59-year-old from Nottingham, has cut her food shop by £70 every 10 days by eating food that is no longer in date.
She said she used to spend £120 every 10 days on a food shop but is now spending only £50 for herself and her husband by using website Approved Food, an online supermarket dedicated to fighting food waste by selling products past their ‘best before’ date, all at reduced prices.
For example, Jane purchased Heinz Baked Beans 415g, which would usually cost £1.20 at Tesco, however the same product from Approved Food for £1. In addition, she bought Corned Beef from Approved Food for £1.75 and on Tesco, it’s priced at £3.50.
As a result, she has dramatically cut costs, spending £1,825 annually as opposed to £4,380 when using regular supermarkets – a saving of £2,555.
It is not the only place that offers such deals. Cheap Food, Low Price Food and Clearance XL Food are all websites that sell food and drink products that have just reached their best before date.
It comes as food inflation has fallen only marginally to 15.4 per cent in April, with shoppers desperate to find ways to cut down their weekly spend.
Jane said: “I have always been careful with money and it’s important for me to find ways to reduce expenses whenever possible.
“Understanding the distinction between the ‘use by’ and ‘best before’ dates are crucial. I used to be cautious about eating anything past the ‘best before’ date, but after learning more and realising that it’s completely safe, I am now addicted.”
Jane purchases a wide range of discounted items including alcohol, crisps, biscuits, baked beans, coffee, dog treats, shampoo, conditioner and even vitamins.
Approved Food can be used by anyone and works by buying excess products from supermarkets that they can no longer sell. They then sell this online at reduced prices.
Each day there are different deals available on the site, for example, £1 for four cans of Coca Cola Zero, which usually retails for £3.
Make sure not to eat ‘use by’ products
There is a note of caution, however, and people should be careful to ensure they don’t eat food that is past its ‘use by’ date.
Experts say the rule of thumb is that food that has passed its best before is safe to eat, but the flavour and texture may change over time. People are urged to use their own common sense and preferences to assess it. Approved Food say a sniff and taste test is the best way to do this.
Julia Falcon at the Love Food Hate Waste Campaign said: “We lead extremely busy lives and taking an interest in what’s written on the date label and then understanding what that actually means is a step too far for a lot of us.
“If people were more confident about what date labels mean they’d get round to eating more of their food rather than throwing it away.”