Human impact upon the Environment, and issues arising from it, are amongst the most pressing concerns of the day. Everyone must take the responsibility to reduce their environmental impact and any change of habit which helps protect the planet, however small, can only be a good thing. France, the UK and Europe have all recently introduced advice, guidelines and legally-binding obligations regarding prevention of food waste and, as another step towards reducing our environmental impact, The Trading Post has introduced a system to reduce unnecessary wastage, including discounting products which are close-to, or just past, their marked ‘Best Before’ dates.
The European Food Information Council (EUFIC
) estimates that roughly one third of all food produced throughout the world actually goes to waste, with food waste being responsible for 8 – 10% of global greenhouse gases. The largest proportion of wasted food is household and there is a concerted effort on behalf of national governments, and international agencies, to raise awareness about 'Best Before' and 'Use By' dates; so that people do not throw away food which is still perfectly good. The EU Commission
is currently reviewing rules on ‘date marking’ to ensure that consumers fully understand, and are not mislead by the information on food products. The UK’s Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP
) advises that “when handled and stored correctly, food can actually be eaten days (bread), weeks (certain fruits such as apples), months (pasta, cereal, frozen food) or even years (canned food) after best before dates.” In France, the approach has been perhaps even more robust, with a 2016 law
prohibiting supermarkets from throwing unsold food away, requiring them to undergo a process of discounting, donating, making available as animal feed and composting foodstuffs rather than simply “chucking it out.” We should all be careful to only buy what we need, use products whilst they are still good and store food correctly (according to the instructions on the packet) to ensure it lasts well and stays safe. Our experience at The Trading Post is that most products which have passed their ‘Best Before’ dates are as good as, or practically indiscernible from, ‘in-date’ items.
The Trading Post has various procedures to reduce food wastage. Like a sensible householder, we try not to buy more than we need: this can be a delicate balance because, ideally, we would run out of stock just as we receive a new delivery (which is not always possible). Secondly, when products are nearing the end of a ‘Best Before’ date, we often put them on sale
, offering a financial incentive for people to choose them. Thirdly, when a ‘Best Before’ date passes, we significantly reduce the price, creating a win-win-win situation: our customers get an absolute bargain on ‘still good’ items (win #1), The Trading Post reduces its losses (win #2) and together we reduce food wastage (win #3). Finally, if we still have remaining stock at the end of all this, the items are often donated to local charities, turned into staff lunches by our on-site kitchen, or simply distributed amongst Trading Post employees to use at home. Again, this has given us all personal experience of how food with expired ‘Best Before’ dates is often equal in quality to food which is ostensibly ‘in date.’
Whilst there is plenty of guidance
available about using food beyond marked ‘Best Before’ dates, it is important to understand the ‘Use By’ dates are not as flexible: ‘Use By’ dates should always be respected and The Trading Post does not offer items for sale which are beyond a marked ‘Use By’ date.
When you next make an order, check your kitchen beforehand, so you know what you already have in the cupboards (and freezer). Then have a look at our SALE page
, you may find a bargain and simultaneously help reduce unnecessary food waste. These are all little things, but if we act together, we could have a big (positive) impact.