Portsmouth Tangier Road - Reducing our Foodprint - landscape

Source: Southern Co-op

The scheme sees fresh products sold up to two days after their best before date for 20p

Southern Co-op has extended its anti-waste scheme that sees food sold beyond its best before date to more than 100 stores.

The society initially kicked off the ‘Reducing our Foodprint’ initiative with two Hampshire stores in December 2019 and February 2020, before expanding to another 11 in April last year.

There are now 103 stores taking part in the scheme, which equates to around half of its retail estate, following a wider rollout last week. 

It sees fresh products sold up to two days after their best before date for 20p. Ambient products are sold up to seven days beyond the best before date.

In the 11 stores that introduced the initiative last April, Southern Co-op sold 16,862 items at the 20p price point during the first five months of launching the scheme. The majority were sold within a day of being reduced. 

“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,” said Southern Co-op chief operating officer for retail Simon Eastwood.

“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.”

Examples of products included in the reduction initiative are 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 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 stores taking part in the initiative are in areas including Berkshire, Devon, Dorset, East Sussex, West Sussex, Hampshire, Kent, Somerset, Surrey and Wiltshire.