Savvy shoppers are happy to buy food that is past its best before date – especially when comes with a 50% discount.
Research conducted by Approved Food, the UK’s largest online-only retailer of surplus food and drink, found a resounding 78% of those questioned said they would be happy to buy food that was close to or just past its best before date.
During the past three months, when shoppers cleared supermarket shelves of store-cupboard essentials prior to lockdown, 68% of those surveyed said they had already bought tinned, dried or vacuum-packed food and drink past its best before date.
More than half those questioned would expect to save more than 50% on the RRP of such items, with a third being happy to pay half price. Shoppers in Scotland and the North East were the most likely to snap up a ‘best before’ bargain, followed by the North West.
In addition, 77% of shoppers said they were buying online more than before the outbreak, with people in London making the biggest increase in online orders with a 47% rise.
Research shows that attitudes towards food waste have shifted during the coronavirus pandemic, with households being more reluctant to discard items just because they had passed their best before date.
MD Andy Needham said the figures reinforced what Approved Food has been saying for more than a decade – that best before dates are simply a guide. “They’re not the same as use by dates, which are concerned with food safety. Best before is a guarantee of quality before that date and food can be perfectly good to eat for weeks, months – even years after that, if it has been stored correctly.
“We are delighted that shoppers are happy to use their own senses on this one and to check if something looks and smells okay before they either eat it or bin it.
“Food is a precious resource. When food bank use is up and families are tightening their purse strings it’s heartening to see that common sense is beginning to prevail.”
Recent figures from WRAP revealed people are throwing away less food than before the start of the coronavirus outbreak, with a reduction of around a third in the amount of bread, potatoes, chicken and milk ending up in the bin.
Families have been making shopping lists, cooking at home more and managing what’s in their fridge better since the lockdown was introduced in March.
 Research by the resource guidance body WRAP